Painter Erica Everage mines the rich terrain of archaeomythological iconography for imagined and recovered symbols and figures of feminine power. Her background in sculpture, theater, and especially in dance is evident in the visceral, movement-animated works in her new exhibition, In Her Image, an expression of primal feminine creative energy now on view at Hotel Figueroa as part of their 2023 Featured Artist program. The hotel’s history as a safe haven for women figures in her energetic explorations, as abstracted and richly gestural women’s bodies literally dance across her expressive, chromatic, texturally enriched grounds, Everage invites the viewer to dream with her as to what a different kind of power could be in the world—and what it once was, in the ancient ages of matriarchal leadership.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
ERICA EVERAGE: I started to feel I was an artist in middle school, thanks to a life drawing class I took with a wonderful teacher who really encouraged me. My mom and dad—who are interior designers—gave me a great informal art education by way of art museums and galleries as well. My dad has an MFA in painting, so his opinion meant a lot to me.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
As a painter, I work at the intersection of abstraction and figuration. I identify as a feminist artist. My work investigates what it means/has meant to inhabit a woman’s body moving through space(s), time, and histories. My work is also all about aggressive texture and vibrant color.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
It’s still in the creative realm, but I’d be an actress/writer and documentary maker. I actually want to make a documentary anyway about this little-known place called the School for Wayward Girls.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I actually just graduated this week from Otis College of Art & Design with my MFA in Fine Art! My BA is in theater from Northwestern University. When I was deciding where to go for undergrad, I had to choose between Northwestern and two art schools, and ultimately decided to get a broader liberal arts education to start.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I was born and raised here, and though I’ve also lived in Chicago and Seattle, I feel at home in L.A. My whole family is also here and there’s such a broad range of people, climates, and things to do all within the same county, so I’m an Angeleno for life.
When was your first show?
My first show was in 2016 at a place called Möbel Gallery on Melrose. It was a solo exhibition of works on paper and bronze sculpture. The show marked my transition from acting and the entertainment world to a focus on my visual art, and I’m still really grateful for it.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?
I currently have a solo painting exhibition up in Artists’ Alley at Hotel Figueroa. It’s called In Her Image and it will be up through February 2024. We’re also installing an immersive suite at the hotel next week, which is a collaboration between my interior designer parents and me.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?
It’s so hard to choose! I’ll say Nancy Spero, whose piece Notes In Time, which I experienced in Spring 2022 at MOMA, influenced me heavily. (And she’s a fellow fan of the Sheela na gig.) It would be an honor to show work with a feminist artist like herself who’s also inspired by mythologies.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
I listen to music more often than not when I’m working. Alabama Shakes, Chris Stapleton, Rosalia, and Bad Bunny are all studio faves.
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