Colorado, USA, 1979
A weathered surface akin to a textured unreflective mirror; a lightly floating piece of silk soiled by traces of oil paint; crystalline formations that only so slightly betray their origins as texts – these are but glimmers into the evanescent yet highly charged poetics of New York and Paris-based artist, Jeremy Everett (b. 1979, USA). Each work exists as the fragment of a sentence, a lyrical exposé, released into the world with precise abandon; the visual confrontation of a new world that exists within yet beyond our own. With an initial degree in Landscape Architecture, Everett traversed into the art of making – or making of art – by subsequently completing an MFA at the University of Toronto. A Colorado native, Everett was exposed for the formative parts of his early years to raw space, the pulsating yet contemplative existence elicited by bare earth. Citing inspirations such as Land Art masters Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer, Everett’s work stems from a centre of intuition and subtly evolves beyond process and creation; neither never fully created nor complete, its significance is in its evolving state between beauty and decay.
Incomplete or unachieved landscapes are at the inspirational heart of Everett’s practice. As an initial standing point, his practice demands an experience rather than a ritualistic formalist observation; Everett’s work is direct and in its deconstructive essence rejects anything formal beyond the primitive. Face to face with you it is vulnerable in its unstable evolutionary state, and so from you does it also demand honest transparency. Standing before Film Still (2013), for example, the viewer shifts to being a victim of circumstance, of a surface that seemingly reflects and thereby lures you in only to then reject your ordinary sight and force upon you the question of ‘what else do you see?’ Probing and destabilising, Everett creates new landscapes, which simultaneously prompt exploration as well as provoke you to take a look at yourself and reflect upon how you process your surroundings. What is before you Everett has dissected only to recompose – so too does his practice demand your un-resisted vulnerability.
Beyond their impact on the self, Everett’s works capture you in that there is a scientific yet released abandon vis a vis their process of creation. When conceiving or developing a work, the focus is on the experiential practise rather than the clear and net ‘result’. Indeed, in itself, this finality is never fully achieved; it is neither sought nor is it the purpose. Everett’s Film Still works, for example, were created using the techniques of exposure and black room development as in photography, yet, without the single use of a camera. The medium of photography was purposely released from the shackles of mechanics whilst its core creative methods, that of spreading emulsion and revelation to light, were teasingly brought over into the realm of abstract painting; Everett breaks the codes, defies Greenberg and pushes the conceived limits of artistic formation. Consider as a further example Everett’s Decay Drawings: texts, which he buried into the earth upon visiting a certain place, which he then excavated upon return to that place. Whilst a tarnished and earth-ridden sculpture seems to stand before you, the process behind it also borders on performance or even conceptualism as the object extracted is of this world but seems to have come from a previous one.
Everett’s work, as fragments of a sentence, is raw and ringing with sardonic humour. Citing Samuel Beckett as an inspirational man of script, one grasps that Everett’s practice is struck with marks of idiosyncrasies and he does not shy from inserting bitter elements of sheer wit. One may turn, for example, to consider Death Valley Vacuum (2010) where he proposed to quite literally vacuum the sandy earth of Death Valley in Western USA. Shot as a film of 4:49 mins, and exposed also as C-prints, one watches Everett’s reckless and endless task of painstakingly collecting the infinite granules. The work abounds with futility, hope and acrimonious hilarity; he doesn’t betray his task or his determination but you as a viewer know that he will not finish, not now not never, just like Vladimir and Estragon will continue Waiting for Godot (1953). Yet, you keep looking, entranced by Everett’s fervour; perhaps this is not our world, it is another where it is possible, or, it does not matter what the result is because as this work stands before you his efforts are a failure, and you come to see there is a beauty in that failure.
Everett’s work is hypnotic, transcendental and disturbing whilst simultaneously pervading a mesmerising quality. Subtle yet direct, it does not spell out for you what you should see but rather opens your mind to numerous transformative possibilities. It is twisted yet brings you clarity and straddles the line between disorder and decay, order and beauty. Indeed, it is the perfection of the defected. And presented before you, mid process, mid existence, it is wondrous and reduces you to the core of your being, unmasked by something before you that accepts your vulnerability, for it also is in this with you.
Jeremy Everett is a highly celebrated emerging artist who has held solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Paris and Hong Kong, amongst other locations. Everett recently participated in a group show at Espacio Tenerife de las Artes and has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Everett’s practice has been extensively featured in publications and critical reviews including Centerfold Magazine, Phaidon, l’Officiel de l’Art, Muse Magazine, The New York Times, The Smithsonian Magazine, Flash Art, Modern Painters and ArtReview, amongst others.
 Clement Greenberg, ‘Modernist Painting’, In J. O’Brian (Ed.) Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, (1993), p. 85-93
 Caroline Berner, ‘Interview with Jeremy Everett’, Intermission Magazine, Fall 2012
Samuel Beckett, (1953), Waiting for Godot