Pam Evelyn - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 13, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I see the canvas as an unbiased field where things come and go, sometimes something will stick, but the dominant character is a feeling of constant possibilities. Being totally lost in the painting is a much more interesting and uncomfortable position than knowing my next move.”
    —Pam Evelyn

    British artist Pam Evelyn is a rising star in the contemporary art scene. Her intuitive painting style allows her to transcribe emotions and experiences across her canvases in broad, complex strokes. Embracing the expressive potential of colour, Evelyn works with a bright palette, using the paint itself to create depth and reveal new forms. The resulting works are brimming with life, reflective of the role the natural environment plays in her creative process. Evelyn’s works are highly sought after, and at only 27 years-old she has already been signed by blue-chip giant, Pace Gallery. Her first solo exhibition with them, A Handful of Dust, is currently on show in London until 30th September and features examples of the artist's signature large-scaled works and mature command of colour, movement, and form. 


    In Storm at Night, a palpable tension is created through the revelation and concealment of forms and shapes. A heavy, hanging wash of black and navy evinces the titular storm; and yet we are asked to plunge into the choppy mist and look beyond the initial darkness of the canvas. Streaks of orange, turquoise and pink appear through the inky haze, creating a lively collection of colourful shapes and lines, jostling for attention. Evelyn’s dynamic use of oil sees spattering drips of paint streak down the surface, ensuring that colours infuse with one another, revealing and hiding at the same time. This technique, alongside her brazen, gestural handling of the brush, demonstrates the influence of post-war Abstract Expressionists, such as Joan Mitchell. In Bracket, we see a similar palette to that of Storm at Night, as well as the spatters of dripping oil paint. Both Mitchell and Evelyn are deeply intuitive in their painting, and the wild, expressive brushstrokes are used as a means of communicating atmosphere and emotion.


    Joan Mitchell, Bracket, 1989, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Artwork: © Joan Mitchell Foundation


    Storm at Night was created for an exhibition held at Baert Gallery, Los Angeles. Titled Diaries of a Climate, Evelyn, alongside fellow British female abstract artists Sarah Cunningham and Francesca Mollett, showed works she was inspired to make in the ‘climate’ of the COVID-19 lockdown. Leaving London, and making a return to her family home on the South Coast, Evelyn describes her experience of ‘solitude and an abundance of time […] it actually turned into the most significant period of painting, becoming a refuge amongst a lot of uncertainty’.i The surreal loneliness of having too much time was an experience shared by many during lockdown, and works like Storm at Night were an essential way for Evelyn to channel her feelings of isolation and apprehension.

    “When I work outdoors, I am witness to the harmony and disharmony of nature, the sudden changes in mood throughout a day. Similarly, my paintings can go through stages of being polite and harmonious, however, I often enjoy a disturbance in palette. When a painting becomes slightly agreeable I usually feel a need to introduce perhaps a gritty, meaty tone to interfere with the complacent.”
    Pam Evelyn

    Without space to paint indoors, Evelyn created a makeshift studio wall en plein air, where she allowed the transitory effects of light and weather to flow through her and into her work. Evelyn soon learnt to accept these natural influences and ‘allowed the nuance of the day to override my say […] trust the paint over my own judgement’.ii Channelling the energy of the natural environment, Evelyn charges her works with colourful brilliance and textural dynamism. Whilst taking inspiration from the abstractionists of the 20th century, she is seeking to define her own practice: ‘the term abstraction is an unusual one, being that it’s reliant on reality. I feel like sometimes abstraction can be more cutting and real. It’s looking at the backbone.’iii Evelyn transforms the reality of the environment to into a slippery, shimmering form. She manipulates oil paint to both reveal and conceal, obfuscating bright colours under a haze of dark, churning strokes that lends itself well to the title of Storm at Night.


    Collector’s Digest

    • British artist Pam Evelyn is known for her intuitive painting style, featuring brightly coloured abstracted strokes that brim with life.

    • Evelyn was signed to blue-chip-giant Pace Gallery in July 2023, and her first solo exhibition with them, A Handful of Dust, is on view in London until 30th September. She has also held solo exhibitions at Massimo De Carlo in Paris, The Approach in London and Peres Projects in Berlin.

    • Her auction debut painting, Evening Rain, was sold in London by Phillips in 2022.



    i Pam Evelyn, quoted in ‘Pam Evelyn’, Wonderland., 17 November, 2021, online.

    ii Pam Evelyn, quoted in James Ambrose, ‘In the Studio with Pam Evelyn’, émergent magazine, 15 December, 2021, online.

    iii Pam Evelyn, quoted in Emily Steer, ‘Pace Tapped Painter Pam Evelyn as Its Youngest Talent. She Tells Us What’s Behind Her New Show of Tumultuously Beautiful Abstractions’, Artnet, 22 September, 2023, online.

    • Provenance

      Baert Gallery, Los Angeles
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Baert Gallery, Diaries of a Climate, 9 March – 1 May 2021 (titled as Night Fog)


Night Fog

signed, inscribed and dated '''STORM AT NIGHT'' 2021 PAM EVELYN' on the overlap
oil on linen
190 x 180 cm (74 3/4 x 70 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2021.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 ‡♠

Sold for £44,450

Contact Specialist

Rosanna Widén
Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+44 20 7318 4060

Olivia Thornton
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 13 October 2023