Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Dream-like Artworks: Minnie Evans’ Divine Inspiration

Left: Minnie Evans, The Tree of Life, 1962, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Right: Minnie Evans, Day and Night, 1962, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

Women Artists

Dream-like Artworks: Minnie Evans’ Divine Inspiration

Folk Art, Surrealist, Visionary, Americana, call it what you will. Minnie Evans’ (1892-1987) dream-like artworks speak of another world; a world which the artist believed God had given her insight to see. The North Carolina native’s oeuvre ranges in size and medium; but take a look at any of Minnie Evan’s artworks in the whole collection, and you will quickly notice that there is another-worldly aspect to them…from the colors and symbols to the overall themes of religion and a higher being.

Dream-like Artworks: Minnie Evans' Divine Inspiration

Sculpture portrait of Minnie Evans, Source: Wilmington Star News Online

Born outside of Wilmington, NC towards the end of the 19th century, the visionary artist left school after the 6th grade to help provide for her family. Evans’ art, although from humble beginnings, has been shown across the US, and especially in Wilmington where she has been the center of numerous exhibits and events across the state.

Evans worked as a domestic and gatekeeper for Airlie Estate and later Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, often selling her paintings on the grass next to the park’s gates. Influenced by the lush greenery in the gardens, she stated that “Green is God’s theme color”; upon further inspection, there is evidence of influence from African and western cultures from which her ancestors stemmed from.

Dream-like Artworks: Minnie Evans' Divine Inspiration

Minnie Evans, Design Made at Airlie Gardens, 1967, oil and mixed media on canvas mounted on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum,  Washington, DC


Part of the reason for the excitement which still surrounds her dream-like artworks is the artist’s creative process, hardly even understood by Evans herself.

…It was shown to me what to do…I have to look at them like everybody else. They are just as strange to me as they are to anyone else…

Minnie evans divine inspiration

Minnie Evans, A Dream, Prophets in the Air, 1959, North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, NC

The artist stated that she was the recipient of visions since a young age; it was not until she reached adulthood where she records that a voice spoke to her saying “Why don’t you draw or die?” The symbols and Biblical images were as foreign to Evans as they are to the viewer.

I have no imagination…they just happen.


Evans was the subject of a 1983 documentary aptly titled “The Angel That Stands by Me.” In the documentary, Evans recounts that she was not formally trained in regards to art because no one knew what to teach her:

Now if I had been painting life, studying how to make peoples’ faces, maybe I’d have had a teacher…God has sent me a teacher…an angel that stands by me.

Minnie Evans, The Tree of Life, 1962, The North Carolina Museum of Art, Minnie evans divine inspiration

Minnie Evans, The Tree of Life, 1962, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

What is surprising to learn, is that Evans never really grew used to the voice she heard which directed her to draw or paint. The artist had a story for every painting and drawing, detailing what can only be described as a mystical knowledge of a world outside of our own realm.

Dream-like Artworks: Minnie Evans' Divine Inspiration Minnie evans divine inspiration

Minnie Evans, Angels and Demons, 1975, oil on canvas board,  The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago


The idea of a visionary process is not new. But Evans’ out of body experience is worth discussing in terms of divine inspiration. (It could be said that the Renaissance greats such as Michelangelo and Leonardo received inspiration from the heavens – from a supernatural force outside of their control.)

Her artwork may be deemed primitive or child-like by some, but it is evident is that there is something special about the North Carolinian’s artistic style. Even though I am from the same region as the late artist, I still found myself drawn into her mystical world and creative process while researching her work for this piece, as if I was learning about her for the first time.

Minnie Evans, Day and Night, 1962, North Carolina Museum of art

Minnie Evans, Day and Night, 1962, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

Find out more:


Visit Folkstreams to learn more about Evans’ dream-like artworks and catch a glimpse at the documentary.

Art historian (art lover, artist), general nomad, writer, Mom, and a pilot wife. When she’s not spending all of her free time reading and writing YA novels, she can be found at her favorite coffee shop drinking coffee in all its various forms…right now, that’s an iced vanilla latte half sweet with almond milk…in case you were wondering. Favorite art style is impressionism. Favorite theme is the Annunciation.

Check out my site here: https://rachelmbwitte.wixsite.com/wittylife

Comments

More in Women Artists

  • 19th Century

    Last Days of Summer in Art

    By

    The end of summer is approaching and these last days of sunshine create a kind of melancholy feeling. You probably like to look back on the past few weeks. The summer is a period in which we may feel a little happier than during the rest...

  • 19th Century

    Artists and Industrial Revolution: Images of the Changing World

    By

    The Industrial Revolution brought fundamental and irreversible social changes. But what was its influence on art and artists? Changing Times, Changing Themes Even though depictions of rural labor remained frequent, industry, as an important part of the reality and people’s life, became a more and more...

  • 20th century

    Passing Time with Klee: Demonstrating Temporality in Visual Art

    By

    Paul Klee was a “musical” painter, not least because he chose the violin and bow before brush and easel. Klee’s father was a music teacher and his mother a singer, which had a profound effect on his approach to painting.  Fugue in Red (1921) is one...

  • 20th century

    Tina Modotti. A Woman of Her Time

    By

    Tina Modotti is a photographer whose path parallels the great moments of 20th-century history. Her way of making art is a testimony to the world around her and her eye on it. Emigration to the States Tina Modotti was born in 1896 in Italy to a...

  • 20th century

    Make Everywhere Our New York: Keith Haring Exhibition to Inspire Liverpool Millennials

    By

    Why do Keith Haring’s works still matter in 2019? With Brexit approaching the deadline, Tate Liverpool welcomes the first major exhibition in the UK of Keith Haring. Here are some highlights at the exhibition that Liverpool millennials think are inspirational at this critical transitional point. Go...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy