Heaves, 2021. Glass and water, detail of installation. Photo: John McKenzie

Building Up Entanglements: A Conversation with Julia Crabtree and William Evans

For British duo Julia Crabtree and William Evans, sculpture and the sculptural experience are less about fixed forms than an irrepressible interest in materials and matter that might appear uneasy or ugly, that might crack under the weight of expectation. Combining colored carpets, blown glass, iron rods, water, and plant life into quasi-alien environments, they see something significant in almost haphazard arrangements of awkward forms that, when combined, offer a kind of beauty that we might otherwise refuse to recognize.

Crabtree and Evans’s willingness to fail or fall short allows them to come at their work with great freedom. Collaboration becomes a means to relinquish control and authority, while intention is blurred by unfettered imagination and altered through all-absorbing processes that admit “interference” from everything else in the world. Endowed with something of the contingency of life, these objects, and their relationships, might radiate a material happiness at one moment, and just as easily fall apart the next. Nothing is stable. Materials, forms, and arrangements are all open to change and evolution, infiltrating institutional space and growing through the cracks and crevasses of everything concrete.

Rajesh Punj: How would you introduce your practice and approach to viewers unfamiliar with your work?
Julia Crabtree & William Evans: We’re primarily sculptors working across a variety of media and mediums. We’re interested in making sculptures that explore the haptic and tactile—sculptures that are vulnerable, that reveal their material processes and their flaws . . .

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