THE ISLAND OF ST. MATTHEWS
And other recent work by KEVIN JEROME EVERSON
Screening accompanied by a printing of A GIRL'S YOUNGTOWN by Jaqueline Marino from Belt Magazine. Discussion moderated by Belt Magazine Editor, Martha Bayne
Fe26 (7 min, 2014) is a 16mm short film by Kevin Jerome Everson that follows two gentlemen around the East Side of Cleveland, Ohio and examines the tensions between illegal work –in this case, the stealing of manhole covers and copper piping--and the basic survival tactics that exist in areas of high unemployment.
THE ISLAND OF SAINT MATTHEWS (64 min, 2013) is a 16mm feature film about the loss of family history in the form of heirlooms and photographs. Years ago filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson asked his aunt about old family photographs. Her reply—that “we lost them in the flood” was the catalyst for this film, a poem and paean to the citizens of Westport, a community just west of Columbus, Mississippi, the hometown of the filmmaker’s parents. Residents, young and old, are here seen and heard reminiscing about the 1973 flood of the Tombigbee River. The film combines these interviews and conversations, filmed in front of a church, at a beauty school, on porches and backyards, with sequences of a waterskier on the Tombigbee River; a worker at the lock and dam; a young couple meeting with an insurance agent about flood insurance. The sound of a church bell—an original bronze sculpture made by the filmmaker and similar to the bell used to warn residents of an impending natural disaster—intones throughout, interspersed with a spare, elegiac score.
“With a sense of place and historical research, my films combine scripted and documentary elements with rich elements of formalism. The subject matter is the gestures or tasks caused by certain conditions in the lives of working class African Americans and other people of African descent. The conditions are usually physical, social-economic circumstances or weather. Instead of standard realism I favor a strategy that abstracts everyday actions and statements into theatrical gestures, in which archival footage is reedited or re-staged, real people perform fictional scenarios based on their own lives and historical observations intermesh with contemporary narratives. The films suggest the relentlessness of everyday life—along with its beauty—but also present oblique metaphors for art-making." -Kevin Jerome Everson
Kevin Jerome Everson was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. He has a MFA from Ohio University and a BFA from the University of Akron. He is currently a Professor of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Everson was awarded the prestigious 2012 Alpert Award for Film/Video and was the subject in spring 2012 of a mid-career retrospective at Visions du Reel, Nyon Switzerland, a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2011 and a retrospective at Centre Pompidou in 2009. 2014 Solo Museum exhibitions included the Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis and SECCA, Winston-Salem, NC. 2015. His films will be featured in the How to Remain Human exhibition at MOCA Cleveland May-Sept. 2015.
Programmed by Sally Lawton & Christy LeMaster