Alumni Research

May 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Gillespie Publishes Conversation with OHIO Alum Kevin Jerome Everson

Dr. Michael B. Gillespie, Assistant Professor in African American Studies, published an article on “2 Nigs United 4 West Compton: A Conversation with Kevin Jerome Everson” in Liquid Blackness in April 2014.

Excerpts: Kevin Jerome Everson’s work represents a distinct processing of materials, craft, and blackness. While he has worked across media (e.g., photography, printmaking, sculpture, painting) for over 20 years, his work has significantly shifted since the late 1990s to primarily film and video…. His growing catalogue of film and video now includes over 100 shorts and six feature films. Everson’s film and video work defies easy categorical claims by a refined disregard for the way black art can be presumed to embody or dictate cultural policy. Instead, Everson approaches film and video as a fine artist; while his work sometimes gives the impression of a documentary conceit, it is moreover mediated by an experimental/avant-garde attention to gestures. His work illustrates a refined insistence on the everyday, black, people, history, and repetition. As Ernest Hardy notes about Everson’s aesthetic, “Without pedantry or grandstanding, he locates the grace within the grind.” Yet Everson’s films and video work always functions as a distinct invitation for contemplation that never proffers anything resembling an essence or ontology. Instead, he pursues a devotion to quotidian occurrences and tasks….

MBG: When did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?

KJE: I began when I was getting by BFA in Photography at the University of Akron. I continued growing as an artist while getting my MFA in Photography at Ohio University. I was doing a lot of street photography, but really I was always dealing with multiple media. I was doing sculpture, printmaking, painting and film.

MBG: How has Ohio informed your work?

KJE: I identify as someone from Northern Ohio. Unemployment, employment, migration from the South, language, weather, benchmarks, and basements. These are the keywords for my craft as I continue to try and get better as an artist. I’m drawn to what gestures might represent.

Read Gillespie’s conversation with Everson  in Liquid Blackness.

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