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Local couple revives batik

Woman in Red and Green by Jonathan S. Evans.
  • Woman in Red and Green by Jonathan S. Evans.

Between them, Jonathan and Beth Evans have 51 years of experience making art in the medium of batik: wax application and dye transfer on fabric. The couple splits time between homes in northern India and Colorado Springs, and this month will exhibit work at the OpticalReverb Gallery.

Their pieces are large-scale and remarkably intricate. Beth says anywhere from 40 to 60 dyes might be applied to a single piece to achieve the desired level of detail. She does landscapes and Jonathan does portraits, a form rarely seen in batik.

"In the last five or six years, I've gotten heavily into portraiture," says Jonathan, who is 61 and has been doing batik since his 20s. "I was living in India with these incredible peaks, the Himalayas, right in front of me, and as soon as I painted them they lost their power. I got more into the details of the landscape."

In his portraits, Jonathan says he tries to depict the "story of people's lives on their faces."

His portraits "Woman in Red and Green" and Watching Man" tell those life stories eloquently. Beth's eye for natural beauty is reflected in the exquisite "Hibiscus." Both artists have worked on heavily detailed Indian street scenes as well.

Beth says she was drawn to batik because she likes to work on fabric, but also because of the intricate planning involved in each piece.

"We draw on the fabric. We have to plan the whole piece out before we start," she says.

Jonathan agrees.

"It takes massive discipline and planning."

-- Kathryn Eastburn


Four Eyes on India: Batik Paintings of Northern India

by Jonathan S. Evans and Beth McCoy Evans

OpticalReverb Gallery, 3125 Sinton Road (at Cedars Jazz Club)

Opening reception Friday, Sept. 2, 6-9 p.m.; show runs through Sept. 30.

For more information, call 210-9799.

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