Fred Eversley exhibition at the New Orange County Museum of Art | related to art | Arts & Culture


Energy, from the wind whispering in your ear to the sun brushing against your thigh, has always been a source of curiosity for sculptor Fred Eversley. “Without energy, none of this exists,” he said in a video produced by the Getty. Now 81, the artist has honed his interest in light, space, movement and perception over the past 55 years, his unwavering and demanding creative vision. Eversley is known for his lens-shaped sculptures, diaphanous orbs with concave surfaces that are created and shaped by centrifugal force. Usually arranged on white pedestals, they resemble captured planets and stars, drops of astral matter fallen from the universe. He describes these iconic sculptures as parabolic shapes. The form has a deep meaning for the artist. “The parabola happens to be the only mathematical shape that concentrates all known forms of energy at the same single focal point,” he explained in a profile of his career.

Fred Eversley next to one of his works at the Orange County Museum of Art. | Courtesy of Orange County Museum of Art

U-shaped and mirror-symmetrical, his parables emphasize the connections between the cosmic and the scientific, inviting the viewer to contemplate the complex energies (physical, social, divine) that shape life on Earth. “He’s an amazing combination of this methodical, research-based scientist who is also an artist at heart,” Courtenay Finn, chief curator at the Orange County Museum of Art, said in a phone call with KCET. Artbound. She curates “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World)”, one of the inaugural exhibits at the museum’s new site at the Segerstrom Center of the Arts, a performing arts complex in Costa Mesa. Originally designed by former Senior Curator Cassandra Coblentz, the show coincides with the Oct. 8 grand opening of OCMA’s new building, an undulating terracotta facade designed by Thom Mayne and Morphosis’ partner in charge Brandon Welling. Studio. Until January 2, 2023, the exhibition will take visitors on a journey through Eversley’s practice, zooming in on his explorations of matter and color via his treasure trove of parabolic lenses.

A magenta parabolic lens artwork by artist Fred Eversley.
Fred Eversley, Untitled (parabolic lens), (1969) 2020. | Jeff McLane. Courtesy of Fred Eversley and David Kordansky Gallery
An overhead view of the terracotta clad exterior of the Orange County Museum of Art

Finn explains that the genesis of the series was born out of a desire “to look back while looking forward”. Eversley has a long relationship with the OCMA, formerly known as the Newport Harbor Art Museum and Balboa Pavilion Gallery. Founded in 1962 by 13 women, the museum has moved three times over the years, and Eversley has been involved with an exhibition at each location, including his landmark solo show in 1976. [at this time], and you could see it in the development of his craft,” Finn explained. This exposure led the museum to acquire an opaque black lens made the same year. When the curatorial team was thinking of exhibits to mark this new phase of the OCMA, Eversley emerged as an obvious choice, an artist who has been a crucial presence in the museum’s history, reflecting his own evolution. Finn adds: “It seems really appropriate for him to be part of the inaugural exhibition, with his long-standing relationship with the museum. It’s exciting to think of an artist who is still working today. He is still a voice what’s going on right now.”

Installation view of Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World) (October 8, 2022 – January 15, 2023) Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA | Sandi Hemmerlein

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Eversley was drawn to science from an early age. He remembers tinkering in the basement of his parents’ house – his mother was a schoolteacher and his father was a notable engineer who ran a successful construction company – for hours, creating his own DIY science experiments using objects like pie pans and a phonograph table. He studied electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1963. He left for Los Angeles a year later, after getting a job as an aerospace engineer at Wyle Laboratories in El Segundo. During the day, he worked on special projects for NASA, including the Gemini and Apollo programs. By night, he immersed himself in the creative community of Venice Beach, the neighborhood he eventually settled in. (He lived in Venice for 50 years, until rising rents forced him and his wife, architect Maria Larsson, to move to New York in 2019). He began spending time with his neighbors: John Altoon, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, John McCracken and James Turrell.

Most of these artists, along with Mary Corse and Helen Pashgian, are considered pioneers of the Light and Space movement, an informal affiliation of Los Angeles-based artists working in the 1960s and 1970s. space have created immersive visual experiences related to perceptual phenomena. Described by art critics as a West Coast reaction to the austerity of New York minimalism, Light and Space embraced the California aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the way the sun hit “waxed surfboards and gleaming automobiles,” as ArtSpace writes. Their materials—neon lights, glass, fluorescent lights—also expressed influence from nearby aerospace industries, and some artists often collaborated with scientists to bring their creations to life. Thanks to his training as an engineer, people like Bell and Charles Mattox called on Eversley for technical help.

Robert Irwin, Larry Bell and Helen Pashgian explore perception, matter and experience. Watch this episode “Artbound”.

Light & Space

In 1967 Eversley was in a serious car accident which left him on crutches for 13 months. When Mattox offered him free housing in return for help in his studio, Eversley left Wyle Labs and focused on making art full-time. His laborious technique has not changed since his first experiments with centrifugal force. Using a modified potter’s wheel that allows him to control speed, Eversley pours liquid plastic mixed with color pigments into molds, spinning his casts until he creates the specific parabolic shape. that he wishes. From there, the soapy sculpture is sanded and polished until it shines. His first glasses are tricolor studies, exploring the inexhaustible variations of amber, blue and violet. He expanded into other colors in 1972 after McCracken gave him his box of black pigment. And unlike the enormous scale of works by Bell or Turrell, Eversley’s sculptures are typically less than 20 inches and up to 7 inches deep, although he has dabbled in larger works, including a sculpture by 35 feet tall installed at Miami International Airport and a new 7-foot-tall work created for the OCMA show.

In “Untitled (parabolic lens)” ([969] 2018), also featured in the show, a solar-hued ball of energy is embraced by a thick ring of black. From a distance, the lens looks like an inverted annular eclipse. As you get closer, the colors bend and distort as the surface refracts images of nearby sculptures and figures. “I’m all about universality,” Eversley said in a recent interview, “I don’t like art that you have to know art history to appreciate.” In contrast, his art draws viewers into a chimerical trance, marveling at how energy can alter our perception of ourselves and others. In addition to its horizontal and vertical lenses, “Reflecting Back” highlights Eversley’s forays into bronze and laminated acrylic. Housed in the boomerang-shaped Mezzanine Gallery, the layout “will weave visitors through time and color,” Finn explained, with two different entry points that allow for different readings of the exhibition. Working with Eversley and Larsson on the layout, Finn uses words like constellations, galaxy and cosmos to describe the trio’s thinking behind the order of the sculptures. Eversley’s work opens us up to the quiet phenomena that run through our natural world. “His lenses remind us of how much our perception can be altered or heightened. Something that seems ordinary can be extraordinary, if we look at it in a new way,” Finn said.


Comments are closed.