Finding the Sublime in the Mundane Complexity of the Developed Landscape
Taking the photograph as starting point, Daniel Evertt’s quasi surreal photographs are an investigation into how ‘organisational systems mark the landscape and, over time, fight against one another as they build up in layers.’ Distancing himself from its ‘evidentiary use’ Daniel investigates and reflects on ‘what an image can mean allegorically’ and how this can reveal aspects and feeling of space and architecture rather than the more tangible things one generally sees.
Who and what inspires/stimulates you?
I’m inspired by urgency and by assertive opinions expressed earnestly. I’m also inspired by my wife and my son, by my interactions with other artists, and by my students.
How do you think of photography as a tool?
I try to distance myself from photography’s link to the literal and it’s evidentiary use. I’m more interested in what an image can mean allegorically rather than talking about specific places and things. My use of photography has always been about trying to recreate the way a space felt to me specifically – as a way of externalizing experience and gaining a better perspective.
What is your work process when constructing a photograph? How much is post production?
It usually takes me a long time to understand why I took a picture, so most of them sit for years before I find a way to make sense of them in my work. Sometimes that means drastically changing them, or digitally marking them, or combining them with other images. Sometimes it’s very straightforward. Overall, I see them more as starting points than conclusions.
What contemporary conditions inform your photographs?
I spend a lot of time thinking about the ideals of progress contrasted with the reality of what that pursuit has actually produced. I think about perfection and what that might mean in regard to a structure, or a city, or even a person. I wonder what it would look like and whether or not, in the end, it would feel oppressive, or maybe just banal.
From the camera to the phone? How has this shift dramatically changed our relationship to the image and how we consume it?
There are too many pictures. At the rate that we are documenting every surface and object around us, we are going to need another lifetime to sort through them all. I think significance needs scarcity and there seems to be less and less of that. I realize that I’m part of the problem. I want to consciously make less and think more, and somehow reestablish some sense of slowness.
What is your take on the contemporary city? What aspects of this interest you?
I’m interested in a radical rethinking of the organization and operation of cities. I want visionary projects that question all the things that have become foregone conclusions. I wish we would build new cities (and maybe raze others). In my recent artwork specifically, I’m interested in the way our organizational systems mark the landscape and, over time, fight against one another as they build up in layers.
What is your relationship to the sublime?
It’s on my mind whenever I’m making work, but I don’t presume to be able to recreate that experience for others – that seems like a terrible way to set out to make art. Rather, I’m engaged in figuring out why I personally react the way I do to certain spaces. Culturally, we tend to associate the sublime with nature, but that has always been a challenge for me. My experience with it has been found in empty subway stations and parking lots, and in the mundane complexity of the developed landscape.