Rita Evans makes and performs sonic sculptures in live sound based performances with multiple participants. The resulting soundscapes are characterised by moments of focus, humour, ferocity, generosity and struggle. Using wide-ranging technologies, Rita’s work combines developed techniques with improvisation. Rita performs these solo and with a wider group of collaborators and performers, including local residents, dancers and musicians.
Each sculpture Rita builds and plays has unique inbuilt spatial properties of sound, movement, materials and intention for shared use. They are informed by ancient musical instruments, ritualistic and hypnotic material processes of artisan and artistic work, aquatic life forms and collective architecture. The movements to play them become embedded in the instruments as they are played by different people over time – the instruments are always being reconfigured, and are played differently each time, keeping in mind all the other possibilities along the way.
In 2020 Rita commissioned sound and sculpture based performance with the audience at Tate St Ives for their programme in the forthcoming Naum Gabo exhibition. In spring 2020, Rita will perform as part of the Whitechapel Gallery Presents live programme.
Rita completed her MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College in 2009 and since then has presented at residencies, performances and exhibitions internationally.
In 2015, Rita was awarded the Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award, a major Acme Residency & Award funded by The Henry Moore Foundation, Royal Opera House, High House Production Park Ltd and Stephen Cripps’ family, where she presented two complex architectural-scale installations consisting of sonically interconnected sculptural instruments that were performed with local residents in a spatial-acoustic unfolding and an audiovisual score based on fluctuating power structures and dynamics.
In 2017 Rita developed an orchestra of electro-acoustic sculptures made in diverse materials that were played and moved by a group of people in an open public workshop and performance. Titled Matrices and Tensions, these were presented while in residence at Chisenhale Dance Space, London supported by an Arts Council England grant.
In 2018 she was a Visual & Digital Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity in Canada where she made Microbiome, a reeded infrastructure instrument played by collective breath of musicians.
In 2019, Rita was part of Archway Sound Symposium with a solo performance at The Bomb Factory and as part of an exhibition of artists’ scores at Five Years Gallery in London. The work she presented, Aqueous Infrastructures, consisted of three reconfigured instruments (Expand Contract, Aqueous Poly Pipes and Threaded Infrastructure). These were played solo and then with audience interaction. The sounds of these chaotic instruments summoned vast infrastructures, animal calls, morse code and radio static with other voices from the depths of the materials themselves, as if they might tell us something else about systems in the world.
In 2019 Rita has been working on the film, sculpture and performance titled Coil of Days, a series of chapters of sonic sculptures, musical instruments and structures that she has been building and developing with dancers, performers and the public for the last three years. This narrated film of their unfolding is currently in progress with a specially produced soundtrack.
Rita regularly runs workshops, recently she was lead guest tutor for writing on sculpture for Write and Shine London. Recently Rita led workshops around open play, improvisation, sound, listening and materials for early years schools at the South London Gallery. She was also Family Artist-in-Residence at Camden Arts Centre, London, where families created accumulative sound sculptures and spontaneous group performances.
In 2019 Rita was nominated for The Arts Foundation Futures Awards in Experimental Music by the electronic musician and recording artist Nik Colk Void.
“What first struck me about Rita’s work was its fearlessness about using wide-ranging technologies, combining the sophisticated with improvisatory and spontaneous practice. Her drawings showed a real similarity to the freedom, quirkiness, humour and enquiry intrinsic to Stephen Cripps’ sketches.” Anne Bean, Artist, Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award panel, 2015
“Rita stood out as an artist who was very motivated and spoke and illustrated a number of projects that were often ‘off the beaten track’. She already seemed to be wholeheartedly committed, with a number of engaging ideas, for projects that were well-orchestrated in her mind for Thurrock, the local environment and those who live and work there.” Ron Haselden, Artist, Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award panel, 2015
2019 Archway Sound Symposium, solo performance at The Bomb Factory and as part of an exhibition of artists’ scores at Five Years Gallery, London. Curated by Hannah Dargavel-Leafe and Phil Wilson-Perkin.
2018 Visual & Digital BAIR Fall, Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, Alberta, Canada to make Microbiome, a sculpture on collective breath and communication technology.
Installation of Poly Pipes in Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity Project Space, 2018. Photo Vikki Wiercinski.