Artist Spotlight: Fred Eversley
After earning his engineering degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Fred Eversley had intended to continue his studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. However, in the summer after his graduation, Eversley resolved to follow his then-girlfriend to Mexico, where she had enrolled in a painting course. When his parents refused to support this ‘derailment,’ Eversley made a last-ditch effort to raise the cash he needed. In desperation he reached out to the California aerospace engineering firm Wyle Laboratories, offering a six- to twelve-month commitment with the company in exchange for a cash advance. Upon the firm’s eager agreement, Eversley took the money and “tagged along” to Mexico, where he says he “pretended to study mural painting.” Upon returning stateside in 1964, Eversley moved to Los Angeles and began working at Wyle Laboratories as a supervisor on projects for the French atomic energy commission, the European space agency, and NASA.
After many failed attempts to secure a rental, Eversley settled in Venice which, at the time, was one of the only integrated beach communities in L.A. By Eversley’s account, he started “hanging out with [his] neighbors including Larry Bell, Jim Turrell, Ed Moses, Bob Irwin, John McCracken, John Altoon, and Charles Mattox” in his spare time. Eventually he began helping them execute the technical elements of their projects and became a familiar face around their Venice studios. The L.A. art world at this point was still small and Eversley easily found himself “rubbing shoulders” with major artists, museum directors, and curators at openings and parties. However, it took a near-death experience to push Eversley into becoming an artist himself. After an accident in 1967 left him on crutches for a year, Charles Mattox invited Eversley to move in with him rent-free in exchange for technical help with his kinetic sculptures. Eversley took him up on the offer and left Wyle Laboratories. When Mattox left for New Mexico six months later, Eversley suddenly had the place to himself. This is when he began developing his first resin sculptures.
From the beginning, Eversley aimed to craft kinetic sculptures that used the natural fluctuations, in both their setting and relationship to the viewer, to produce movement. In bringing his aerospace engineering knowledge into the creative realm, Eversley became fixated on the ways in which parabolic shapes could illustrate the character of energy. By the 1970s the artist’s sculptures evolved into translucent, concave discs, or rings of colored resin. While many Light and Space artists focused on the viewer’s perception of their works, Eversley focused on creating objects that could be used by the spectator to perceive the world around them. Because the morphing reflection in Eversley’s resin is produced by the viewer’s movement, they are made more aware of their own important role in the kinetic “choreography” of their surroundings. Upon reflection, Eversley says that he unconsciously used his technical understanding of physics to channel “the broader metaphysical” currents of Venice beach in the 1960s and 1970s. He notes, “I always considered that energy and how to harness that energy to make people happy.”
WBUR, 8 Mar. 2017, www.wbur.org/artery/2017/03/08/fred-eversley.
Eversley, Fred. Energy. fredeversley.com/about/energy.
Frank, Peter. “The Dance Of Seeing.” Oct. 2011.
Cast polyester resin
22.125″ x 22.25″ x 7″
Provenance: Private Collection, United States
February 17, 2019 Modern Art & Design Auction