Nicholas Evans-Cato draws his inspiration from the city. In part, his paintings are an effort to exploit the pictorial potential of the urban grid. But executed both on site and from memory, they demonstrate his commitment to a personal and idiosyncratic process and speak to more than merely formal concerns.
He has written:
"Tight, box-like canyons of space at street-level present motifs best framed in a square format, while aerial rooftop views explode them, and the distortions of curvilinear perspective capture trajectories mirroring the dome of the sky."
Each painting maintains this conversation between standpoint and format. Here Evans-Cato finds a parallel to his obsession with the roles of the individual within the city itself. Drawn to the fabric of the urban organism rather than a narrative of the population pulsing through it, his compositional decisions, square or panoramic, intend to evince confrontation with the spectrum of postures with which, conscious or not, every citizen is on some level familiar: passive observer, bourgeois flaneur, or dedicated activist.
Notable is Evans-Cato's attraction to painting particular meteorological conditions, put to the service of his persistent inquiry in turn. His city is one alternatively described by nearly blinding summer glare, thick warm fog or heavy rain and snow. The beauty of its oppressive weather invites consideration in its own right. Indeed, it is the opacity of these fugitive conditions, whose empirical depiction is largely without precedent in the history of the Cityscape genre, which transforms his paintings from mere traditional windows onto the everyday into delicate and deliberate geometric screens of the exceptional, through which the American vernacular exterior seems both an apparition and an anchor.