Inspired by visions communicated from God, Minnie Evans, a gate-keeper at Airlie Gardens near Wilmington, North Carolina, used at-hand materials to create moving works of art, such as The Tree of Life. Often working only with colored pencils and notebook paper, this self-taught African-American artist made drawings whose imagery was derived from the natural world and the Bible. Evans responded as strongly to her edenic environment at Airlie as to the heavenly paradise she dreamed about and longed for. Nearly fifty years old before she started drawing in earnest, Evans slowly evolved an iconography that includes plants and flowers, birds and butterflies and winged animals, cornucopias and rainbows, royalty, stars, and angels. Symmetry controls the bursting compositions, imposing a balance that underscores Evans’s view of God’s proportioned design.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. D. H. McCollough and the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest)