Chris Smith Evans is a professional artist who has exhibited her work in galleries and museums throughout the United States. Evans was born Cynthia Suerstedt in Newport Rhode Island in 1950 and raised in a military family. As the child of a Naval officer she developed a love of travel and lived in Hawaii, California, Virginia and Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin Evans moved to Manhattan for several years where her work garnered attention from art critics Lucy Lippard, Suzanne Volmer and Grace Glueck. Evans became involved with Vietnam Veterans Against the War and exhibited with such artists as Andreas Serrano, Peter Saul, Nancy Spero, Leon Golub, Roger Brown, Sue Coe, William T. Wiley and May Stevens. Evans’s life and work have historically centered on themes of social justice, non-violence. and passive resistance.
Photo Courtesy of Kim Fabio Studios
After relocating to Chicago in 1991 Evans joined an urban Mennonite community. For two decades she lived a quiet and secluded life painting scenes of her tenement suburb of Chicago and the community farms of Pennsylvania and Indiana. In addition to painting and sculpture Evans has used art to enhance everyday communication with non-verbal children, leading to her M.A. in Special Education at Saint Xavier University in 2009 and an M.F.A. from Winthrop University in 2019. Evans' most ambitious project to date is a symbol communication language she has created for victims of sexual assault to anonymously identify their assailants. Calling the language The Help Code Evans has engaged the public through cooperative polls and public presentations, most recently at the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force in Columbia, SC. Evans also demonstrates the use of the symbols through exhibitions of interactive art, seen of late at Winthrop University’s Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery.
2019 The Ethics of Sheep. Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.
2018 Catalyst, Charlotte, NC.
2017 Millscapes, The Dalton Gallery, York County Council for the Arts, Rock Hill, SC.
2004 Stephanie Jackson, Healing Arts Gallery, New York, NY.
1984 The Chapel, White Columns Gallery, New York, NY.
1984 The New York State Vietnam Veteran’s Gallery, Albany, NY.
Two, Three and Four-Person Exhibitions
2017 Progress Through Process, Lewandowski Gallery, Winthrop University
Rock Hill, SC.
2013 Galarina Folk Art, Shipshewana, IN.
2004 (2006, 2008) Sawbridge Studios, Chicago, IL
1990 The Image of War. CEPA. Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY.
1988 The Soho Center for Visual Artists, New York, NY.
1988 The Baum School of Art, Allentown, PA.
Selected Group Exhibitions
2016 ArtPop, 2016. Arts and Science Council, Charlotte, NC.
2017 Dalton Gallery, Arts Council for York County, SC.
2016 Artfields, Lake City, SC.
2015 (2003-2015) Galarina Folk Arts, Shipshewana, IN.
2009 (2003-2009)Sawbridge Studios, Chicago, IL.
2008 Illinois Artisans, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Chicago, IL.
2007 Illinois State Museum of Art, Springfield, IL.
2006 Evanston Art Center, Faculty Exhibition, Evanston, IL.
2003 Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, 2001 Conference, San Diego, CA.
2001 Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart IN.
1991 Bess Cutler Gallery, New York, NY
White Columns Gallery, New York, NY.
Lehigh University Gallery, Bethlehem, PA.
1989 Vietnam: A Different War. Curated by I.C.A. and Lucy Lippard, N.Y., NY.
Frederick and Marion Block Gallery, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
Madison Art Center, Madison, WI.
De Cordova and Dana Park Museum and Sculpture Garden, Newton, MA.
Whatcome Museum of Art, Bellingham, WA.
Frederick Wright Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA.
Museum of Art, Washington State University, Pullman WA.
CU Art Galleries, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
Art and Cultural Center, Hollywood, FL.
Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH.
1988 Vietnam: As Seen By Both Sides: American and Vietnamese Artists
Look at the War. Boston, MA.
Curated by C. David Thomas and the Indochina Arts Project.
Art Center of Battle Creek, Battle Creek, MI.
Baxter Gallery, Portland, ME.
Peace Museum, Chicago, IL.
Waterworks, Salisbury, NC.
National Museums of Art, Ho Chi Mihn City, Hanoi, and DaNang, The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Herbert Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Boston University Art Gallery, Boston University, Boston, MA.
1988 Bess Cutler Gallery, New York, NY.
1983 White Columns Gallery, New York, NY.
1982 Harm Bouckaert Gallery, New York, NY.
Uptown Downtown Gallery, New York, NY.
80 Washington Square East Galleries, New York, NY.
Frank Martin Gallery, Muhlenburg College, Allentown, PA.
St. Marks Gallery, New York, NY.
The Soho Center for Visual Artists, New York, NY.
White Columns Gallery, New York, NY.
Faculty Show, Lehigh University Gallery, Bethlehem PA.
What I do for Art, Just Above Midtown Gallery, New York, NY.
Ward’s Island Sculpture Garden, in conjunction with the Organization for Independent Artists, New York, NY.
Bibliography and Merits
ArtPop, 2016. Arts and Science Council, Charlotte, NC.
Rhubarb, Autobiography of a Reverse Maverick. Spring 2008. No 17. pp5.
San Diego Union Tribune. Dana Littlefield, September 10, 2001.
MoMA, Queens, NY. PAD/D Archives; file number 82085791, Library, Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Kappa Delta Pi, Honor Society, Chicago, IL (2008).
As Seen by Both Sides. American and Vietnamese Artists Look at the War,
C. David Thomas and the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities (Corporate Author), Indochina Arts Project, University of Massachusetts Press, 1991.
Vietnam, A Different War. Lucy Lippard and Independent Curators, Inc. Real Comet Press, 1990.
The Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict, by Leter Kuttz and Jennifer Turpin. Volume II.
Peace and Art, by Steven Dubin, 1991, Academic Press, Purchase, NY.
An Outdoor Safari Around New York, New York Times, Grace Glueck. 1981.
Arts Magazine, Saints, Suzanne Volmer, pp 24-26, 1983.
What I Do for Art, Just Above Midtown, Downtown Gallery, Smithsonian Museum Libraries, July 1982
Master’s Degree in Fine Art, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.
Master’s Degree in Education, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL.
Bachelor of Fine Art, University of Texas, Austin, TX.
Teaching, Presentations and Seminars (2004-2019)
Patrick Gallery, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC. M.F.A. Presentations.
Dana’s Place, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC, Three-Minute Talk.
Chicago Artist’s Coalition Columbia College, Chicago, IL.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL.,
The Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL.
The Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA), Chicago, IL. Lecturer, Painting and Drawing: Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. (1988- 1991).
Instructor, Painting and Drawing, The Baum School of Art, Allentown, PA. (1988-1991).
Teacher, Special Education and Art, South Carolina Public Schools, Charleston, Colleton and York Counties, 2009-2017.
Expressing themes of rescue and protection calls for an art medium that speaks to healing, strength and especially non-violent commerce. Using raw wool sheared from the threatened Lincoln sheep offers felters like myself the opportunity to insure the survival of this species. At the same time I am provided with a beautiful and durable material.
Raw Lincoln wool can be described by its color, texture, form, value and color saturation, the basic elements and principles of design.
“Crimpy” is a positive term used to describe a squiggly thread texture in high-quality long wool. This crimpy thread provides surface shine, texture and translucency and lends itself to making long-lasting artwork. This luster and texture is the strongest characteristic of felted sculptures providing a warm, rough, wild handmade look to the forms.
Felted wool has a different property from
spun or woven wool, permitting multiple layers to be assembled throughout the creative process. The wool may be felted into lacy transparent sheets or layered and rolled into tough, three-dimensional mats. Long,
natural strands and relief details may be added with needle felting. Both of these methods
are used in my wool work.