Liam Everett

2017 SECA Art Award Recipient

  • Liam Everett, Untitled (Naxos), 2015

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

  • Liam Everett, Untitled (Cloghanmore), 2016

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

  • Liam Everett, Untitled, 2013

    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.


Influenced by contemporary dance, Liam Everett’s compositions are built up with and worn down from improvised actions, and the materials that he employs are meant to incite instability.

In Conversation

SFMOMA Baker Street Foundation Associate Curator of Photography Erin O’Toole interviews Liam Everett in his studio.


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.

Exhibition Catalogue

Download a PDF of the exhibition catalogue essay and conversation with the artist.

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