This September Mellow Bar invited Evelyn Beliveau to be our artist of the month to showcase their collection The Eyes of Within/out at our both locations. Evelyn Beliveau paints human faces and figures with gestural and meticulous brushwork. Raised in Vermont, they earned a B.A. in Visual Arts from Bowdoin College in 2019. They also studied at the Siena Art Institute in Siena, Italy in 2017. Their work has been featured on album covers, in publications based in New York and Maine, and in exhibitions throughout the northeastern United States.
- Photo of Evelyn Beliveau
The eyes of within/out, titled after a line by musician and writer Ben Belinski, incorporates selections from two bodies of work: figurative oil paintings and live music drawings.
We sat down with Evelyn and captured moments she shared with us about her journey:
Q. When and how did you start painting?
A. I always loved art as a kid, then I got more serious about it in high school and college, where I learned more about the technical side and got to explore more. I’ve always been fascinated by figures, portraits, and the way light and color come together to sculpt form. I used to play around with photographs of celebrities on the Internet and in magazines before I started doing portraits of people in real life.
Q. What are some of the things that inspire you?
A. I look at a lot of contemporary figure painters like Doron Langberg, as well as artists from the past century… especially Egon Schiele’s speed and specificity of linework and how precise his drawings are. Alice Neel’s live portraits are really inspiring to me as well. Being in the same space with the subject who is sharing their time with me is so important.
Q. How did you start the music series?
A. The music series also originated at school. I was involved in the live music club and I ended up going to a lot of shows. At one show, I happened to have a notebook and pen and spontaneously started to draw, and something just clicked. The poses and gestures the musicians take on to produce sound are compelling to me.
Q. Tell us about the pieces being displayed at the salon!
A. I discovered the bands featured in this series because they’re friends of my sister. After I first moved to NYC in 2019, I went to several of their concerts and developed this body of work. And as for the pieces being displayed at the Soho location, I was playing with zooming in on specific parts of the body and choosing objects to pair with the body parts. A lot of them are self-portraits. I see a lot of my own journey with gender identity in these works, but they can be really interpreted and read into in many different ways. I was also trying to achieve a sense of touch that you can feel just by looking at the painting. About Light Sensor, it was about celebrating the visual sense—the eye accepts light, and is also a visual phenomenon itself that other eyes can see. In other words, eyes are pretty.
Q. How would you describe Mellow Bar aesthetically?
A. I would say light filled and cleanly curated. I can also see that you guys are bringing in some natural elements like flowers, and it looks very open and welcoming.
Info for works at the Soho location:
Veil, oil on canvas, 18” x 14”, 2022 ($700)
Light Sensor, oil on canvas, 9” x 12”, 2021 ($500)
Spoon, oil on canvas, 14” x 11”, 2021 ($650)
Pearly Whites (Self Portrait with Pearl Necklace), oil on canvas, 12” x 9”, 2021 ($650)
These paintings depict cropped figures paired with objects chosen for their visual and tactile qualities and for their potential to create startling and engrossing moments for the viewer. Working with oil paint—a malleable, hand-applied medium—I aim to invoke awareness of a specific tactile sensation in the viewer, portraying skin as both a sense organ and a sensory stimulant.
Info for works at the West Village location:
Public Library Commute, pen and crayon on paper, 12” x 17 1/4” (approx. 15 1/8” x 19” framed), 2019 ($400)
Couchsleepers: Guitar, marker on paper, 12” x 9” (approx. 12 1/8” x 15 1/8” framed), 2019 ($300)
Couchsleepers: Violin, marker on paper, 9” x 12”(approx. 12 1/8” x 15 1/8” framed), 2019 ($300)
Low Echo, marker on paper, 12.25” x 9” (approx. 12 1/8” x 15 1/8” framed), 2019 ($300)
I created these drawings at live concerts by musical acts Couchsleepers, Public Library Commute, and Low Echo in the fall of 2019. In these drawings, I use economical linework to trace the ephemeral postures and movements of musicians concentrating on their craft. I respond gesturally to both the sound and look of the performance, closely observing the figures’ contours while also allowing my hand to move with the music.
Find more of Evelyn's work:www.evelynbeliveau.com
Follow them @evelyn.beliveau (Instagram)