It is with great excitement that we honor Dylan Everett, Rhode Island School of Design, MFA – 2019, with Third Place in the 2019 Lenscratch Student Awards. As the winner, he will receive a mini exhibition on the Curated Fridge, a Lenscratch T-Shirt and tote, and today’s feature on Lenscratch. Thank you to our sponsors and to our jurors Aline Smithson, Brennan Booker, Daniel George, Julia Bennett, Drew Nikonowicz, Sarah Stankey and Shawn Bush.
Most photographs are the rendering of a three-dimensional space flattened into two dimensions. The foreground is clearly separated from the background. In Dylan Everett’s photographs however, a careful sleight of hand turns collections of two-dimensional surfaces into three-dimensional experiences. Decorative surfaces reminiscent of William Morris’s wallpapers are folded into bodily surfaces, and objects float above. In one image, a blue decorated cake and two floral napkins appear to hover over a distant picnic scene. As the image unfolds, it seems that the picnic is a printed image, and the napkins and cake are sitting on that flat surface. Everett doesn’t directly reveal his elaborate deception, but instead playfully swipes a finger of icing off the cake – a sly reminder that we are trapped in a hall of mirrors, and there is no exit.
Dylan Everett (b. 1994 in New Jersey) is currently an MFA candidate in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. He received a BA in Visual Art from Brown University.
The preface to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is a series of aphorisms about art and beauty, including the declaration that “all art is at once surface and symbol.”
If all art is at once surface and symbol, I create symbolic surfaces. Through the use of photo-collage and still life, my pictures collapse figure and ground into surface. Drawing from a range of references – my personal life, literature, art, pop culture – and cultural signifiers, these surfaces are loaded with symbols. The viewer is invited to decode these symbols, or at least to try.
The symbols in my images often function as homages to the people and things that I love or admire: LGBTQ-identified creative figures, gay icons, and personal relationships. This series of homages is held together by an aesthetic that strips away any sense of hierarchy among cultural signifiers. In my fabricated spaces, there is no distinction between highbrow and lowbrow, personal or famous, historical or contemporary. – Dylan Everett
We are always considering what the next generation of photographers are thinking about in terms of their careers after graduation. Tell us what the photo world looks like from your perspective. What you need in terms of support from the photo world? How do you plan to make your mark? Have you discovered any new and innovative ways to present yourself as an artist?
Fresh out of graduate school, my peers are my most important resource in the photo world. Having a few close friends whose opinions you trust and respect is so important once the structure of regular studio visits and critique is gone. After that, I’d say Instagram is crucial. I don’t post my work on Instagram very often, but I have used it to forge connections with artists who I would’ve never met otherwise. It is also my primary resource for learning about opportunities — whether jobs, exhibitions, residencies, or grants — and for keeping up-to-date with what other photographers are working on. I always prefer to look at photographs in person, but I recognize that getting my name out there online is probably the best way I can start making my mark.
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2019 Lenscratch Student Prize: Second Place: Dylan EverettJuly 23rd, 2019
2019 Lenscratch Student Prize: First Place: Guanyu XuJuly 22nd, 2019