Attacks on non-executable files rarely exploit the api. It is much more common to attack a weakness in the viewer. It would be unlikely although not impossible for such a error to exists in both Adobe and Evince. To be safe you could setup a virtual environment (I recommend the free Virtualbox)
Is Evince a secure way to view malicious PDF?
Without further restrictions this answer has to be as boring as general: No
But you already made some restrictions, which I would like to turn into an assumption and the question which can be inferred from this:
Does Evince reduce the risk of being compromised by viewing a .pdf under this assumption?
How good/accurate is your assumption?
This is the upcoming question and more difficult to answer. I would even say it is out of scope of your question. However, here is a list of resources I stumbled across by now:
- Combining static and dynamic analysis for the detection of malicious documents (2011)
- Techniques for Analysing PDF Malware (2011)
- De-obfuscation and Detection of Malicious PDF Files with High Accuracy (2013)
- Looking at the bag is not enough to find the bomb: an evasion of structural methods for malicious PDF files detection (2013)