Garth Evans Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive comprises sketchbooks, correspondence and papers relating to Evans' artistic practice and teaching work, photographs and negatives (particularly from his British Steel Corporation (B.S.C.) Fellowship); transcripts of interviews with members of the public recording their impressions of a piece of sculpture by Evans which was installed in Cardiff as part of the 1972 Peter Stuyvesant City Sculpture Project; appointment diaries recording brief notes on day-to-day life (1952-1974); and a small amount of financial and personal materialA key part of this collection relates to his tenure as a British Steel Corporation Fellow. There is also material connected to the controversial 'A Course' established by Evans with fellow teachers Gareth Jones, Peter Harvey and Peter Atkins at St Martin's School of Art, which made an important contribution to art school educational techniques.

Administrative / Biographical History

Garth Evans was born 23 November 1924 in Stockport near Manchester. His father, Cyril John Evans, was a talented, although little-known, wood and stone carver. Evans was educated at Cheadle Secondary School. From 1949-51 he attended Manchester Junior College of Art. In 1950 he began training as a textile designer at Calico Printers Association in Manchester. Evans began National Service with the RAF in 1951. After basic training he was stationed in Hong Kong where he remained until he completed his National Service in 1954. His father died of a heart attack aged only 48 when Evans was 20 years old. Between 1955-7 Evans studied at Manchester Regional College of Art before studying sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1957-60). From 1965-79 he taught at St Martin's School of Art, before moving to the United States. Evans undertook a fellowship at the British Steel Corporation between 1969 and 1971. His fellowship was brokered by the Artist Placement Group (APG), an organisation founded in 1965 that placed artists in government, commercial and industrial organisations. Evans spent his time observing the human and industrial processes of the steel industry, reflecting on how this production related to the studio activities of the sculptor. During his time with the British Steel Corporation he travelled across the UK visiting steel works and photographing objects. He never kept a written record of which works he visited and what he photographed. Selections of these images were later published in the book, Some Steel (1970). His placement at British Steel Corporation is also represented by a silent film showing objects found at a fabrication works, functionless constructions made by welding apprentices which Evans described as 'readymade' sculptures.The British Steel Corporation did not require Evans to produce a piece of sculpture only write quarterly reports reflecting upon his experiences of learning about steel and the difficulties involved in working with this medium. It was not a productive time in terms of sculptural practice and Evans has described how this period was characterised by a mental block as he grappled with the complexities of steel and what felt like the futility of doing innovative work in this medium. Eventually the experiences of his fellowship would lead to the steel sculpture, Breakdown (1971). Evans moved to America in 1979 where he has lived since. He has exhibited widely across the UK and USA, including in the influential group exhibitions British Sculpture '72, Royal Academy of Arts, London (1972) and The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery, London (1975). His work is represented in numerous collections, including Tate, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Victoria & Albert Museum and The British Museum. He has taught at the Slade School of Fine Art, The Royal College of Art, St. Martin's School of Art and Yale University. He currently lives and works in North East Connecticut and teaches in New York, where he is Head of Sculpture at the New York Studio School.Solo exhibitions include:

  • Rowan Gallery, London 1962, 1964, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1974, 1976
  • Faculty of Art and Design Gallery, Leeds Polytechnic, 1971
  • Ferrens Art Gallery, Hull, 1971
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1979

Group exhibitions include:

  • John Moores, Liverpool, 1960
  • New British Sculpture, Bristol, 1968
  • British Sculptors' 72
  • The condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery, London, 1975
  • Holland Park, London, 1972
  • Haywood Gallery, London, 1975
  • Artists Market, London, 1976
  • R.A. Summer Exhibition, 1977

Arrangement

The files have primarily been kept in the order in which they arrived. There has been some minor rearrangement of financial records where there is no obvious connection with the other material in that folder. The archive is arranged in the following series:

  • A Garth Evans' artistic and teaching work
  • A/1 Sketch books
  • A/2 Individual and group projects/commissions (eg Many deeds, Some Steel etc)
  • A/3 Teaching/educational work
  • A/4 Short essays and written work by Evans
  • B Photographs/contact prints/negatives/audio tapes
  • C Appointment diaries
  • D financial & legal records (mainly UK tax returns relating to his property on Regents Park Road)
  • D/1 Garth Evans' financial accounts, income and expenditure
  • D/2 Letters from Garth Evans to Janes Weekes, a tenant living at his property on Regents Park Road
  • D/3 Agreement between Rowan Gallery Ltd and Garth Evans
  • E Personal records

Conditions Governing Access

Available to all registered researchers. The Archive is open by appointment only

Acquisition Information

The papers were purchased from Garth Evans in November 2014

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue is available for consultation in the search room.

Archivist's Note

This collection level description was created by Janette Martin. Ann Compton's was used in the compilation of biographical material for this catalogue description.

Custodial History

Papers were acquired directly from the creator, Garth Evans

Related Material

Tate Archive, London, TGA 20042/2/2/9, Artist Placement Group. Statements by Garth Evans (1969-1971).

The Leeds' Sculpture Collection holds a photographic work 'British Steel Photographs 1969-71' by Garth Evans which comprises a series of black and white photographs taken during the British Steel Corporation Fellowship.

Bibliography

A selection of photographs taken during the British Steel Corporation Fellowship were published. Garth Evans, 'Some Steel', (1971).

Ann Compton (ed.) 'Garth Evans Sculpture: Beneath the Skin', (2013).