TSKC's Ashuni Pérez interviews Bushwick-based Morgan Everhart!
TSKC is always really interested to know how people began creating. When did you start? What inspired you at the time?
I've always loved the materiality of artmaking. Since I was a child I was constantly making messes and trying to draw on everything, with anything. However, in my early teenage years, I thought I'd be a singer or actress. In trying to be a performer, I realized how essential direct audience engagement was in improving my practice. It wasn't until my first art class in high school that I understood that the act of making visual art was something that no one could take from me, and it did not require a specific group or number of people. Since that moment, I've been painting non-stop.
Was there a special reason why you chose oil painting as your medium?
Painting is the most honest thing I can do. Oil painting gives no room for lies and leaves a trail forever of what happened in each layer. It is the most direct depiction of the hand.
Generally speaking, what's your process like? How do you get from the idea of a painting to the painting itself?
I usually have several projects I work on simultaneously that that inform each other. As of late, I paint many smaller works in short periods of time that dictate themselves with unique sets of rules. These paintings serve as ideation for my floral abstractions that sometimes take a few years to complete. Scale, color, and composition in all of my paintings are primed by my sound painting collaborations. I never have a clear idea of what exactly a painting will look like, and that's a big part of the overall pursuit of art that I'm obsessed with. I'm always learning from painting and beside the final image.
We really love the way that you incorporate a lot of texture and movement into your paintings. Your style is quite abstract, but natural at the same time, with flowers and organic shapes. What kinds of things inspire you these days?
I'm interested in the subjectivity of the everyday and how we experience space and time through painting. I am also interested in how the experience of a painting changes in different settings and time periods. Through the materiality of paint, I push these affections formally. The natural and floral elements are symbolic and metaphorical, often times exploring different art movements and understandings of what is considered representational.
The theme for this issue is ‘Red'. What's your initial reaction to this color?
Passion, blood, intensity, the body, femininity.
Different cultures think about colors in different ways. How do you think North Americans respond to red?
I think North Americans tend to respond to the color red symbolically hierarchically when digesting something visual. Red has such a strong connotation politically here that it's hard not to understand it immediately as a statement. However, this understanding does not apply to children.
You did a really interesting collaboration with Nathan James Allen in Nashville, where you painted to live music. It seemed like quite a cathartic experience. Was it?
Yes, I grew up with Nathan in Texas and throughout our lives together we explore perception, temporality, and our senses. We know each other's creative processes intimately and I cherish our language deeply. It frees me from my frame of reference and teaches me how to understand others more virtually.
Do you have any other collaborations in the works?
In Brooklyn, I'm actively working with emerging artists by curating pop up shows. Most recently, I turned my entire home and studio into a five person female multidisciplinary exhibition. Looking forward to curating another in June. I'm also in the process of curating a catalogue of contemporary floral paintings that are Matisse to present. This project is in collaboration with critic Barry Schwabsky.
Where can we see more of your work?
I live and paint in Bushwick, NY and love studio visits. Currently, I am not represented by a gallery. Although, I have an upcoming group exhibition at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, opening on June 21. The show is titled "Four Degrees of Abstraction" and is curated by Anne-Brigitte Sirois, including artists Cora Cohen, Suzanne Olivier, and Xiaofu Wang.
You can also view more of Morgan’s work on her website.