Evelyn Bohn

Artist Statement

Evelyn Bohn aspires to capture intriguing variations of insects’ form and colour in paintings located between observation and geometric abstraction. Referencing abstract art traditions highlights shortcomings of visual communication, which only points indirectly beyond surface interpretations. Her practice is detail oriented, gravitating towards minutiae; the observational approach intends to reflect nuanced sensorial-experiences.

Magnifying-lenses are a form of technology that accentuates close-looking. The application of lenses to viewing bugs, while revealing hitherto unnoticed details, still fails to uncover depth beneath exterior appearances. Laterally, subtle variants of colour and shape enliven Bohn’s visual lexicon. The resulting artwork, by virtue of increasing sensitivity towards surroundings, reflects personal encounters with insects.

The saturation of certain beetles and leafhoppers inspires the Illusive diptych. The aesthetics of their appearance inform the palette and composition. This work relies on the phenomenon of afterimage to inquire: how can we peer beneath the exteriority of surface appearances to truly look? The leafhopper genus graphocephala bridges the conceptual prompts of the Illusive diptych with the importance of graphs within the Pictograph prints. Grapho meaning the procedure of taking a record by line, also cephala’s relation to the head. In combination, suggesting interpretations of line within the mind’s eye.

The print compositions practice encoding language within numerical grids. Micro reference images of butterflies suggest common and scientific species names, in turn revealing constellations of predetermined meanings. Geometric associations graph these meanings into the woodcuts, embedding the etymology enveloping each insect. Again, the extraction of the butterflies image with a focus on their names questions our ability to see beyond semblance.

Bohn’s process of abstraction (seeing an image, uncovering nomenclature, translation into geometry) directly addresses the proclivity of perception to misapprehend mere appearances by obscuring representation with intellectual references. The Graphing drawings explicitly render specific geometric compositions from the Pictograph prints, carrying the abstraction process further from its natural progenitors. The limitation of visual arts to semblance, with linguistic and numeric notation imbuing each artwork with human knowledge systems, indicates the symbolic power of imagery.

Artist Biography

Anthroposophy’s educational philosophy shaped Evelyn Bohn’s worldview towards interdisciplinary approaches to visual arts, mathematics, and science in childhood. During high school, she furthered her artistic education by earning a Specialist High Skills Major in Visual Arts and Culture. This was Bohn’s first exposure to the vibrant arts community of James St. North; the same community that convinced her to attend the Studio Arts program at McMaster University, in which she is currently completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts.