Family snapshots, laundry tickets, inspection slips, diet plans, and comic-book “zaps” and “booms” are among the ingredients crammed into the collages and drawings of John Evans and John O’Connor. In Pazo Fine Art’s “Sim Buhls,” the New York artists’ intricate, playful works demonstrate overlapping sensibilities, even though the men are of different generations.
Beginning in 1964, Evans (1932-2012) made a collage daily, stamping each with the date of its completion. The examples here were assembled between 1974 and 2008 but include artifacts from far earlier, such as a business card with a four-digit phone number. (New York City switched to five-digit ones in 1930.) While the pictures contain drawing and painting, they’re defined by their found elements. Evans’s collages are idiosyncratic time capsules that reveal the artist through his choices rather than his gestures.
More colorful and much larger, O’Connor’s works are technically not collages, since everything in them is drawn in colored pencil and graphite. But the artist’s elaborately patterned pictures incorporate text, numbers and familiar emblems that are just as evocative of recent times as Evans’s artifacts are of earlier eras. The results can be startling, as when the artist produces a sort of board game in which such conspiracy-buff tropes as crop circles, crisis actors and Pizzagate are lettered around a core filled with churning internal organs. O’Connor’s drawings pulse with vitality, but the culture they dissect is not altogether healthy.