I have recently had the honor of having one of my prints, MENDACIA RIDICULA (The Wheel of Ixion) selected from a body of work by the Boston Printmakers by Janette Brossard, president of the Association of Cuban Printmakers, to be exhibited at the Boston Printmakers/Cuban Exchange Exhibition this spring. The Exhibition, titled CONEXIONES/CONNECTIONS will be shown in Cuba at the Taller Experimental de Grafica de La Habana from April 15- May 15. Only 41 prints were selected, so I am very happy to have been included, especially that that particular etching was picked.
My work is also being featured in the online literary publication Verdad (click on the cover to access the magazine), and is accompanied by a very nice commentary by the art editor, Jack Miller. They have also created marginalia for each poem and story, made up of strips of some of the etchings. I like marginalia.
I would like to take this opportunity to announce
the completion of my most recent etching, The
Frailty of Realization, which was begun last December. The title of this
work is derived from the writings of Bruno Schulz, who wondered if the
substance of what we call reality could really be substantial enough to support
the immensity of ideas whose integrity demands the resistance to incarnation. I
began to think of this as a kind of summation of my work up until the present,
and you may find quotations here and there from earlier pieces, as well as
references to various outside influences and some goings on of late.
The stage is set with this excerpt, a prelude to The Age of Genius, from The Book by Bruno Schulz:
“…There are things that can never occur
with any precision. They are too big and too magnificent to be contained in
mere facts. They are merely trying to occur, they are checking whether the ground
of reality can carry them. And they quickly withdraw, fearing to lose their
integrity in the frailty of realization. And if they break into their capital,
lose a thing or two in these attempts at incarnation, then soon, jealously,
they retrieve their possessions, call them in, reintegrate: as a result, white
spots appear in our biography—scented stigmata, the faded silvery imprints of
the bare feet of angels, scattered footmarks on our nights and days—while the
fullness of life waxes, incessantly supplements itself, and towers over us in
wonder after wonder.
And yet, in a certain sense, the
fullness is contained wholly and integrally in each of its crippled and
fragmentary incarnations. This is the phenomenon of imagination and vicarious
being. An event may be small and insignificant in its origin, and yet, when
drawn close to one’s eye, it may open in its center an infinite and radiant
perspective because a higher order of being is trying to express itself in it
and irradiates it violently.”
The Frailty of Realization will be printed on two different papers in edition of 40. Numbers 1 to 20 will be printed on Zerkall Copperplate Cream, and numbers 21 to 40 will be printed on Zerkall Copperplate Warm White. The image size is 9” x 13”, with a curved top border, and the paper size is 14 ½” x 18”. The prepublication price will be $725.00 until October 24th, at which time the price will be $775.00.
When I created my etching based on Goltzius’ Phaethon in 2011, little did I realize that I would continue this theme over the years and appropriate, one by one, and for my own nefarious purposes, each of his four engravings from the series known as The Four Disgracers. In keeping with Goltzius, who used fallen figures from classical Greek myths to disparage the arrogance of Phillip II of Spain, who was trying to subjugate the Netherlands at the time, I have utilized his images (which were actually based on the original paintings of another artist, but certainly stand on their own merits) to reflect on some of our current curses of humanity.
So, the fourth work from Goltzius’ series representing the fall of Ixion has been completed. It is titled MENDACIA RIDICULA (the Wheel of Ixion), and is based on the most complex and detailed of his four engravings. The impetus for creating this final work really came from my discovery of the translation into English of the Latin text encircling the original image. Aside from tweaking the rather clumsy translation and adding one detail at the end, my text pretty much follows the original, word for word. Lamentably, the muse Clio has the unfortunate habit of repeating herself, but her ashcan is ready and waiting. And as regard to the demand for civility in public discourse by the current dominant political organization enabling insanity, I can only reply; “Mendacia Ridicula”.
As we all know, Ixion was redeemed and invited up to Olympus by Zeus after committing some rather unsavory crimes against his mortal brethren. In keeping with his character, once among the gods, he lusted after Zeus’s wife, Hera, and when Zeus realized this, he created a “dark (Stormy?) cloud” in the likeness of Hera, with whom Ixion proceeded to have intercourse. Needless to say, when he subsequently boasted about his supposed conquest, he was punished (tied to the spinning wheel of Ixion for eternity). However, the sexual encounter was unprotected, and depending on your preference of myth, the dark cloud (Nephele) either gave birth to the race of Centaurs, or to a deplorable individual who was responsible for fathering them. (I’ll leave it to your imagination as to how that was accomplished). In spite of Uncle Walt’s bucolic version, it’s doubtful that the ancient Greeks took this as a good thing.
MENDACIA RIDICULA (the Wheel of Ixion) is an etching, 6” x 6”, printed on Van Gelder Simili Japon paper in an edition of 30. In addition to offering it for purchase at the price of $400.00, I am making the set of four (The Four Destructors; The Four Deplorables?—we’ll see) available for $1350.00, which is a discount of $230.00 from the full price of $1580.00.
This year I have received my second purchase award from the 31st McNeese Works on Paper Exhibition, the third Place Award from the Texas National 2018 Competition (1000 entries!), and my work “A Ticket to Ride…” was acquired by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In August I will be showing work in “Stand Out Prints” at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking (900 entries!) and “Pressing Matters” at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Stay tuned for info about Fall Open Studios and the Art for Aids Auction (Das Narrenschiff).
Thank you for your patience in following the 6 month progress of my ambitious (read: larger) recent endeavor, Das Narrenschiff. Several of you have expressed interest in seeing the work when it was completed, and I’m happy to report that the plate is finally finished. I would also like to offer the etching to those of you who are interested at a prepublication price of $675.00, plus framing if needed. This offer will extend through the end of this month (March), after which the regular retail gallery price of $750.00 will apply.
Das Narrenschiff was inspired (read: wholesale appropriation) by the renowned painting Ship of Fools by Hieronymus Bosch, who in turn was probably influenced by Sebastian Brandt’s 15th century litany of follies in verse (112 to be exact) titled Das Narrenschiff. The medieval Ship of Fools trope tapped into by Brandt probably originated in an excerpt from Book VI in Plato’s Republic. Needless to say, modern concerns combined with indiscriminate anachronism take precedence in my new work, and everyone should be beginning to wonder what that taste is when they bite into their next tuna sandwich.
Das Narrenschiff will be printed in an edition of 35 on Hahnemuhle Copperplate Warm White paper. The image is 14 ¼” x 7 ½”, and the paper size is 20” x 12 ½”. Viewing of the final impression can be arranged by contacting me at your convenience. Please take a gander at the attached image, and I hope you will be encouraged to see the actual print. Be the first one on your block (neighborhood, county, state, alternative reality) to acquire one!
Here is a copy of the Washington Post Article by Mark Jenkins containing a review of my solo exhibit at the Washington Printmakers Gallery this last July. Stay tuned for more information on this year’s Open studio.
Here’s a review by Mark Jenkins
in the July 21st Washington Post:
David Avery’s “Tempestuous Muse,” on view at Washington Printmakers Gallery. (David Avery/Washington Printmakers Gallery)
“As a maker of hand-etched prints, David Avery is something of an antiquarian. He also inserts text – sometimes in Latin – into his exquisitely detailed work. So, of course, the San Francisco artist centered his display at Washington Printmakers Gallery on a print titled “Obeliscolychny.” It’s a word he allows is “obscure and rarely used,” in an essay accompanying the show, “Pursuing Invisible Reflections.”
The term refers to a lighthouse, which in Avery’s depiction is a spindly stack of many kinds of buildings, including monument, windmill and tumbledown shack. Here as in the other prints, the look and some of the content is closer to Albrecht Durer than any contemporary artist.
Yet the classic imagery is wittily updated. Avery interjects Renaissance-style intimations of mortality and damnation into everyday scenes: A skeleton rides a stick horse whose head is a equine skull, or a woman jogs with a stroller and a dog, accompanied by Death (riding a bicycle) and a demon. Such mash-ups would be only mildly amusing if the artist didn’t so successfully emulate centuries-old motifs and methods. Indeed, Avery is so adept that viewers in bygone eras might have surmised that he’d sold his soul to the devil.
Recently I was interviewed by Cy Musiker for the KQED Arts section on their web page as part of his review of a show at the Juan Fuentes Gallery titled “Creation & Resistance: Printmaking in Dark Times”. The piece in question, “Year of the Rooster” was not reproduced in the article (!), so here it is. The Latin on the scroll reads: “The World Wishes to be Deceived” (Thank you, James Branch Cabell), which is really what the piece is about, more than just Trump per se. You can see the article here: https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2017/03/21/political-prints-pull-no-punches-at-juan-r-fuentes-gallery/ .
You can also visit the exhibit at the gallery at Accion Latina at 2958 24th Street (between Harrison and Alabama), Tues through Sat, 11 AM to 5PM through April 7th.
As promised, a new etching based on the engraving Tantalus from the 16th century by Hendrick Goltzius has been completed this summer, and is titled Running on Empty. This is the third in a series of four, and who knows when the fourth will be done, as I adamantly refuse to entertain the possibility of ever doing another one of these again each time a new one is completed.
As you will remember (!), Tantalus, a mortal fathered by Zeus, had, among his other indiscretions towards the gods, decided to kill, dismember, and boil is son Pelops, and serve him at a banquet for the inhabitants of Mt. Olympus, to test whether they were actually omniscient. It was a mistake. They were.
His punishment was to be made to stand in a pool of water that receded every time he tried to satisfy his thirst, and to stand under a tree that pulled away its branches whenever he tried to pluck any fruit. (In ancient Greece, cannibalism and the killing of kin were considered to be among the worst atrocities one could commit). Of course, I have replaced the fruit tree with a gas pump nozzle (see lower right). Does the denial of science in the name of commerce render the balance of nature oblivious to the cannibalization of our children’s future?
See image and info on my website: http://www.davidavery.net/prints/empty.html
This spring I had a very successful exhibition at the Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and will once again be participating in San Francisco Open Studios at John Gruenwald Press, which will take place on the second weekend, October 22nd and 23rd. Stay tuned for more information.
I am currently having a solo exhibit this March at the Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. I was subject of an article in the Nashville Monthly Arts Magazine about the exhibit, which will continue through April 1st. Images included in the show can be accessed at piggybackapponline.com.
So far this year, I have been a recipient of both a Purchase Award and Jurors Award at the Sixty Square Inches 18th North American Small Print Exhibition at the Purdue University Galleries, and the Lindquist Purchase Award at the 2016 Delta Small Prints Exhibition at the Bradbury Art Museum in Jonesboro, AR.
The eight copies of my new book, The Coming of the Cocklicranes, or His Kingdom Restored are now all bound and available, currently for the price of $1500.00. However, due to the small edition size, the price will increase as more copies are sold. Don’t be left out! I am currently working on two new etchings, including the my take on the next Goltzius engraving in his series of four, featuring the shortcomings of Tantalus. Look for it this summer.
I hope that you will be able to make time in your Busy Schedules to visit me on the occasion of this year’s San Francisco Open Studios at which, in addition to exhibiting with four other accomplished printmakers (see below), I will be premiering The Coming of the Cocklicranes or His Kingdom Restored, a limited edition artist book featuring four etchings by the same name (now taking pre-publication orders!). Of course, as you have come to know and expect, a vast sampling of those pieces of paper smashed into polished copper plates which have been defaced with scratches and rudimentary chemistry will also be on display. Refreshments will be served.
WHERE–Gruenwald Press, 1663 Mission Street, San Francisco (entrance on Plum Street), identified with a prominent festively colored yellow sign reading “Gruenwald Press”. See map link for the secret entrance on “Plum Street“. http://mapq.st/1LAdN7Q
WHEN–October 31 to November 1, 11 AM to 6 PM
Reception (party!) October 30, 5:30 to 8:30 PM
WHO--Kathy Aoki, David Avery, Jonathan Barcan, Susan Belau, John Gruenwald
Please Note: there is regrettably a flight of stairs which has to be negotiated in order to reach the studio, HOWEVER, if needed, the freight elevator is easily accessible and can be utilized by calling 415-734-0376 and waiting patiently…
The harbingers of Autumn include the publication of five new prints; a series of four etchings entitled The Coming of the Cocklicranes (view here), as well as the just recently completed Runner (Mom, Death and Devil), based on the (you guessed it) famous Durer engraving of a similar name. In addition, there is the upcoming publication of a new artist book based on the aforementioned series of four etchings, which is anticipated to be ready for my 2015 Open Studio exhibition. This year I will be showing at the John Gruenwald Studio the weekend of Oct. 31st, along with four other accomplished and varied printmakers. More information will be forthcoming as the date approaches.
This year has seen a solo exhibit at the New Grounds Gallery in New Mexico, a three person show at the Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco, as well as prints included in an exhibit at the Venice Biennale, the Child’s Gallery in Boston, and several competitions with six awards and honorable mentions.