Step this way to the Space Museum — expand your mind in Bayview

Posted in More Stories, Spotlight, Visual Art

Dec. 30, 2013

Start your mind-expanding new year in Bayview. That’s where objects and imagination entwine to engage your brain and set you on a course of a maverick fantasy made through the reanimation of useful things.

A solo exhibition titled “Near-Earth Objects: Repurposing the Space Museum” by local artist Richard Evans will be on view at the Bayview Cash Store from Friday, Jan. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 2. An opening night reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3.

“What if everything we treasure is reduced to rubble? I imagine we would reconsider the value of that debris and start to build anew,” Evans said.

REEnigma (500x355)

“REEnigma,” mixed-media by Richard Evans. / Photos courtesy of the artist.

This special exhibition chronicles the life of space explorer Commander Dexter T. Rose, Jr., an astronaut working under the authority of the National Bureau of International Bureaus.

Commander Rose, a fictional character created by Evans, is represented in a mixed-media “museum” presentation, where the line between reality and fantasy is at times blurred, if not invisible.

Rose’s mission to seek out solar winds and non-denominational gases in uncharted space ended prematurely when he was blown off-course by a fractured nano-gasket. Commander Rose was last heard from aboard the Fracking Rover Enigma as he approached Clever Dwarf Four (code name: MaR minus S).

During his time on MaR-S, Commander Rose became obsessed with collecting discards of an earlier civilization. With these materials he established the first art colony on that planet. Rose’s fragments of a future past on display in this exhibition are vivid reminders of how little we know about life forms in deep space. Replicas of the spacecraft and military equipment commandeered by Commander Rose are also on display, along with items of a personal nature, reflecting on his relationship with Tapioca, the girl he left behind.

In “Near-Earth Objects,” Evans has provided a serpentine narrative to accompany the found objects of the show’s title. His installations evoke another world ─ whimsical, yet sinister ─ providing a look at what Commander Rose’s journey into deep space must have been like.

Richard creates (500x364)

The artist at work in his studio.

“Near-Earth Objects” is also a harsh meditation on the military industrial complex, the fetishization of technical data, and the manipulations of the entertainment and advertising industries.

A confessed autodidact and “evidence bagger,” Evans assembles his installations out of repurposed materials from thrift stores, junkyards and clandestine dumpster diving.

He built 24 new pieces over six months, using objects he already had in his arsenal.

“I don’t go hunting these days simply because I’ll see too many things that interest me. It steals focus,” Evans said.

“But you keep working,” he said of building the show. “It’s a little like theater.”

Guided tours of “Near-Earth Objects” will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Saturday, Jan. 25 free of charge. Docents (whom Evans is more inclinded to call “indocents”) will assist “museum” visitors in interpreting the objects on display, seeking to bring to life the accomplishments and challenges faced by Commander Rose during his time as a space explorer.

This longtime Whidbey Island resident began making art while pursuing a career as an actor. He played opposite Mia Farrow in the continuing role of “Paul Hanley” on Peyton Place. Major roles in shows such as “Gunsmoke,” “Mr. Novak,” “Bonanza,” “Mod Squad,” and “Star Trek” followed. He starred as Michael J. Pollard’s psychopathic mentor “Goldie” in film pioneer Jack L. Warner’s final movie “Dirty Little Billy,” played George C. Scott’s sidekick “Willy,” in “Islands in the Stream” and co-starred in Robert Mulligan’s crime drama “The Nickel Ride.”

Evans has written, produced and directed a number of feature films, including “Harry Monument,” “Shadow of Rain” and “Shuffle & Cut (A Question for Godard).” Most recently he directed “Frost/Nixon” at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley.

Evans’ artwork has appeared on Whidbey Island at Museo Gallery, Karlson/Gray Gallery, Rob Schouten Gallery and at Galerie 1529 in Glendale, Calif.

The Bayview Cash Store is located at 5603 Bayview Road in Langley.

“Near-Earth Objects” is presented by Goosefoot, a non-profit community development organization. Visit for more information.

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