An interview with Gregg Evans

Gregg Evans is an exhibiting artist in PCNW’s 23rd annual juried exhibition, curated by Kris Graves.

Mating Season, 2019
Archival pigment print
Edition 1/5
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Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and when you first discovered your love of photography.

I started college as a Journalism major at Purchase College way back in 2001, and took a photography class with Jed Devine to fulfill a major requirement.  I had taken pictures here and there before, but never really thought that much about them or felt all that inspired by the photographs I had made.  This time something clicked.  It felt like I had found a whole new voice I never knew I could use… I’ve never looked back.

Tell us about the work that was selected to be included in Distinction by Kris Graves.

Mating Season was an image I made last summer during a walk one evening, passing by a field near where I live in New York’s Hudson Valley.  My partner and I noticed these two Monarch butterflies stuck together in this strange way and realized they were mating.  I think a lot about climate change and ideas surrounding the Anthropocene – the notion that humans have permanently changed the planet and we have now entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, as a result.  I had been reading a few days beforehand about Monarch butterflies being endangered as a result of man made climate change.  It felt like we were witnessing something magical, but also something which may not be witnessed by future generations, as if I was personally involved in the process of creating a fossil.

Is the selected work part of a larger body of work?

This is part of an ongoing project called “A Setting Sun,” which deals with notions of archaeology, history, and photography as a means of witnessing both personal and geologic time.  I think of the photographs I make as a sort of relic of the recent past; an artifact of the contemporary moment.  I find it interesting that the title “A Setting Sun” can be read in multiple ways depending on one’s personal perspective; A Setting Sun marks both the end of the day and the end of one’s youth or the end of an era.

Who / what are your biggest influences?

So to name a few photographers I find myself gravitating towards lately, I’d have to say Larry Sultan, Rinko Kawauchi, Ron Jude, Nigel Shafran and Tim Davis.  I’m also super influenced by science fiction and usually have Star Trek or Dr. Who playing in the background while I’m editing images so I’m sure that makes it’s way in there one way or another.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

I’m making work in the same way I have been for the past few years – thinking about time and archaeology and what we leave behind.  It’s such a strange and terrifying world we live in right now, it feels like almost too much to process photographically without merely documenting the things going on around us.  I’m honestly not entirely sure how to make sense of it all.  Maybe that’s enough, to just observe right now?

PCNW’s annual juried call for entry provides exhibition opportunities for artists and directly supports our programs, scholarships, and labs at PCNW. This helps ensure access to photography for many future generations of creatives. We know you have many options for submitting your work, so please tell us why you chose PCNW? What are your thoughts and experience with submitting your work to different calls?

I love institutions like PCNW which foster the photography communities outside of the big art world hubs like New York City and Los Angeles, so showing at places like PCNW feels like a great way to both get my work out into the world and support a great institution.  Also, I really love seeing the work that Kris showcases both with +KGP and with the exhibitions he curates, so that was kind of a no brainer.  

As for submitting to different calls, that can definitely be a little bit frustrating.  You have to slog through a decent amount of rejection and just stay positive through it, and really just focus on the joy of getting an acceptance letter when it comes or the excitement of getting work out to a show wherever/whenever it is.  I find that it’s helpful to look for shows at spaces or with curators that share a common aesthetic with your work, and to never turn down an opportunity to show work. You never know when something is going to be unexpectedly awesome or who is going to connect to your work in an unexpected environment.  I’ve been in cool shows that were in more established spaces and cool shows in someone’s basement, you honestly never know what’s going to be amazing.

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