Liam Everett

2017 SECA Art Award Recipient

Liam Everett, Untitled (Naxos), 2015
Liam Everett, Untitled (Cloghanmore), 2016
Liam Everett, Untitled, 2013

Liam Everett, Untitled (Naxos), 2015; courtesy the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco

Liam Everett, Untitled (Cloghanmore), 2016; private collection

Liam Everett, Untitled, 2013; courtesy the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco


Liam Everett (b. 1973) builds up and wears down his compositions through a repetitive layering and removal of improvised marks that are often made with, or through, tools and objects such as pieces of furniture or metal fencing. His materials and processes are meant to incite instability: alcohol and salt strip the color and distress the surfaces of his works; sanding and scraping reveal traces of previous states and cause unexpected fluctuations in line and tone. The installation at SFMOMA includes a floor of plywood panels stained by intentional encounters with the colorsoaked implements used to make the paintings. Influenced by contemporary dance, Everett’s gestures are deliberate yet immediate responses to his studio environment. Likening his practice to a continuous rehearsal, he emphasizes the importance of constant movement and “releas[ing] work that is still working.” A weekly rehearsal in his gallery by Hope Mohr Dance embodies this philosophy.


Artist Liam Everett, one of SFMOMA’s 2017 SECA Art Award winners, explains his use of furniture and loose materials to simultaneously obstruct and direct his approach to painting. He describes how these props force him to remain present—as if performing in a theatrical set—yet also distance him from the final product.