Melvyn Evans

  • Head Form 1

    Head Form 1
  • Head Form 2

    Head Form 2
  • Head Form 3

    Head Form 3
  • Celtic Head with Cross

    Celtic Head with Cross
  • Celtic Figure

    Celtic Figure
  • Landscape with Figure and Ancient Yew

    Landscape with Figure and Ancient Yew
  • Landscape with Figure and Sacred Well

    Landscape with Figure and Sacred Well
  • Landscape with Figure and White Cross

    Landscape with Figure and White Cross
  • Landscape with Figure and Stone Circle

    Landscape with Figure and Stone Circle
  • Last of the Winter Light

    Last of the Winter Light
  • Head Form 1
  • Head Form 2
  • Head Form 3
  • Celtic Head with Cross
  • Celtic Figure
  • Landscape with Figure and Ancient Yew
  • Landscape with Figure and Sacred Well
  • Landscape with Figure and White Cross
  • Landscape with Figure and Stone Circle
  • Last of the Winter Light

Melvyn Evans is a professional artist, printmaker and illustrator. He is fascinated by the relationship between rural traditions and our connection with the British landscape. Here he describes the inspiration for his latest series of prints.

These prints explore the symbolism of the Celtic head, the Celtic belief that the head was the seat of the soul, as in the Mabinogion tale of Brân the Blessed. I am also fascinated by the early poem The Dream of the Rood, in which the ancient tree becomes the cross of Christ, giving an insight into the blurring of early pre-Christian beliefs with those of Christianity.

Most of the examples of Celtic heads we have today are sculptural, made of stone or metal, with a few wooden examples in early churches. I wanted to translate the sense of space and form into the print medium whilst exploring in depth ideas of erosion and time. I have often thought that the process of cutting away the lino surface and creating negative space has a certain empathy with the sculptor and is possibly why many sculptors are drawn to print as an alternative expressive medium.

The idea of placing light and dark, colour and tone one on top of the other with the use of multiple blocks also has an element of building form. I wanted to construct these heads by placing shapes over shapes, cutting, etching or scratching into each one, allowing them to recede into virtual space. This meant not only using line and colour but also balancing the composition with light and dark, texture and plain. I use a variety of marks, circular scratching with a metal scribe, and rubbing the surface with a serrated knife to produce parallel lines.

Shapes symbolising standing stones crept into the composition, the marks on their surface reminiscent of chisel marks. In some of the prints, I have expanded the heads into figures reclining across a landscape. They allude to a sense of belonging and place, like ancient chalk hill figures or Arthur's sleeping knights.

Celtic Head 1 by Melvyn Evans features on the cover of Issue 300 of Resurgence & Ecologist (January/February 2017).

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