As we begin flinging our masks off, I wanted to
share with you an article written by Karin Breuer of the Fine Arts Museums of
San Francisco for their newsletter about the piece MENDACIA RIDICULA (the
Wheel of Ixion) which was acquired for their collection, and the series of
etchings from which it came. These pieces are based on the four engravings of
Hendrick Goltzius The Four Disgracers, and as she explains in her
thoughtful article, they use the 16th Century engravings to engage
with current issues of our day. You can read the article here: https://deyoung.famsf.org/de_Young_Open_David_Avery
I recently participated in a three person Zoom
presentation under the auspices of the Boston Printmakers at the Providence Art
Club in Rhode Island to talk about my work (actually, the Goltzius series).
Several people who viewed it have commented to me that they found some
edification in the description of how I make my work, and so I thought I would
also share the link with you. There is some time spent on housekeeping for the
meeting, so I start about 6 minutes or so after the beginning, and you can
watch me make all the standard flubs with Zoom before I get started. I hope you
will find it entertaining. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DTqkcMrAuIY
In other news, I have participated in 16 competitive
and invitational exhibits since the beginning of the year, won a purchase award
at the University of Texas at Tyler, and was selected from the Crocker Kingsley
exhibit at the Blue Line gallery in Roseville to show at the Crocker Art Museum
in Sacramento for the second time in a row.
Finally, the latest piece, A Kind of Flying—The Invisible Hand. Goya meets Adam Smith.
In the Year of the Covid, 2020, I am nevertheless very pleased that the de Young Museum of San Francisco will be purchasing my etching, MENDACIA RIDICULA (the Wheel of Ixion) for their collection, after having accepted my two entries for the de Young Open, an exhibition of Bay Area artists culled from over 11,000 entries. The Exhibition can be accessed online at https://deyoung.famsf.org/exhibitions/de-young-open and will be showing at the museum until the beginning of January. This etching has become very popular recently for some reason (!) and has been included in eight shows since the beginning of the year, as well as being included in the collection of Casa de las Americas in Cuba.
Concerning which, there are now only four complete
sets left of the New Four Disgracers, of which this etching is a part.
Likewise, there are only four impressions of Obeliscolychny still available.
Get them before the coup starts!
What, though the field be lost,
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what else is not to be overcome?
That Glory never shall his wrath
Extort from me.
From Paradise Lost, Book I—Satan lying in a pool of burning sulfur after being cast out of heaven (losing, that is). It will be a rocky road…
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 $1425.00, which is a discount of 10 % 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).