Evan Venegas – Manipulating the Grid

ev16-mix-editBy Caitlyn Shea

Evan Venegas paints visual labyrinths that encapsulate the rhythm and pulse of the urban landscape.  His abstract paintings feature complex compositions and enticing color relationships. Venegas takes us on an aerial journey to NYC, and expresses his love for the ever-shifting city.  He does not work from photos, and instead relies upon his own experiences in the boroughs to navigate the puzzle-like environments that he concocts.

Although NYC is known for its unpredictable nature, the city was designed based on a grid; and that is exactly where Venegas begins laying out his paintings.  The grid is apparent in his paintings and gives them a strong sense of structure and order.  The order is then disrupted and pushed beyond its limits by tumultuous shapes that break into the predetermined planes.  Venegas explains: “I use the backdrop of the grid as a starting point. Then I allow myself to playfully connect, intercept and manipulate the spaces inside this simple structure. This is an expression of what I think happens in the city. “

Music is inherent in each CFBL712painting; the painterly choices he makes are reminiscent of expressionist painters that were influenced by jazz.   Venegas’ father was a musician and he stressed the importance of continuously practicing.  Venegas recalls: “Through extensive practicing, you can reach a point where playing the right note becomes second nature. Then you have the freedom to improvise, using your intuition but with a sophisticated working knowledge. I made a seemingly rebellious decision to not become a musician when I was younger. I decided visual art was what I wanted to explore. I adopted the same principles my father taught me about playing music, but I use tone and variation of color as my musical notes.”

LostGrid-A28Not everyone sees the cities that Venegas creates; in fact viewers see many different objects and concepts in his paintings.  Venegas does embrace viewers bringing their own interpretations to his work.  He explains: “I never intended for people to have this experience. But I started to hear early on in my painting career that this is what was happening. It’s enough for me as an artist to make something that others can lose them self in and take a break from reality. Also, I am fascinated with the imagery people come up with in their minds.”

Evan is one of many artists exhibiting artwork at Sparkboom’s Artspace Unplugged. The work will be on display until August 14th at 20 Terry Street in Patchogue.


Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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