EVO LOVE: BODY SHOP, @African Heritage Cultural Arts Center
EVO LOVE: BODY SHOP
Yvonne Grams, known as Evo Love, born in New York, is an interdisciplinary artist. In the early 1990s, she started her career creating assemblages with materials she found and collected. Then, translating her sculptural practice into a 2D one, Love began working on collages. Her work functions within a nostalgic realm that transports both artist and viewer on a journey back to childhood. Her work has sold on five continents and is exhibited internationally.
Through the use of appropriated print media Love developed a complex and highly personal symbolic language that allowed her to investigate subjects, which range from her Latin and Indigenous heritage, her interests in magic, games, love, sex, culture, and history. The use of these images creates an archetype that transcends the boundaries of the human condition, language, race, class, and culture. As with her sculptural work, her approach is methodical and specific as to foreshadow a narrative while giving the viewer the space to complete the story.
The series Body Shop is dedicated and inspired by my stepfather Joseph Caban Jr, a renowned auto body expert. Body Shop celebrates the elbow grease and dedication of heavy collision mechanics, builders, and car culture. Having spent a large part of my childhood in auto body shops, I wanted to revisit my memories of watching my stepfather Joe working on many of the classic cars used in these collages.
Each piece tells a story through cars, advertising, and American pop culture. The backgrounds of these pieces may go unnoticed by the laymen. But to the auto mechanics, car manufactures, builders, and collectors, it will be clear the intricate way Chilton Automotive Digest manuals are used to frame the work. Color combinations are a nod to the renovation masters that knew the importance of nuances such as the proper cranberry red color on a Chevelle, to the shades of brown, bronze and golds on Cadillac’s and Monte Carlo’s.
Staying true to my aesthetic and the playful use of text that I have become known for, I construct meticulous collages of Americana Icons and car culture. I also create works that embrace America’s love of consumerism.
In a world that is increasingly moving towards a “paperless” culture, my use of print media functions as an archival endeavor just as much as an aesthetic engagement.
My intent is to leave the story to the viewer to decipher. Every visual representation has nuance and subtext as well as a deliberate measure to be inclusive. Themes that incorporate feminism, homosexuality, conservatism, race, gender, and culture are woven throughout to illustrate the prevailing love I have for Americana. Each fabrication is a love letter crafted from my childhood heart, and watching them grow has renewed my zest for the creative process. After completion of each piece, I dedicate a quote and a song relating to the work.