Just in time for the holidays! My most recent etching is hot off the press. It is my take on a trope exploited by artists (think: Munch) since the middle ages: Death and the Maiden. Printed in edition of 25 on my last remaining sheets of Cream Zerkall Laid Cover, it can be yours for only $300. The oval plate size is 4” x 3 1/16”. Makes a great stocking stuffer.
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.
The other etchings in this set are:
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.
David Avery’s “Tempestuous Muse,” on view at Washington Printmakers Gallery. (David Avery/Washington Printmakers Gallery)
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.
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.
Ex Libris—In Absentia, a hard ground etching on copper was created in response to a call to printmakers from around the world to engage with and explore the implications of the destruction of Bagdad’s intellectual and bookselling district on Al Mutanabbi Street by a car bomb in 2007. The Al Mutanabbi Street Project seeks to draw attention not only to the attack in Bagdad, but through the idea of “Al Mutanabbi Street starts here” to raise awareness of the connections between Bagdad and the threat to culture (artistic and literary thought and exchange of ideas) in the face of the potential for intolerance and violence on our own street.
Woland famously remarked in Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita” that “Manuscripts don’t burn”, meaning…what, exactly? Of course, they do burn, and so do people, as evidenced by this project, but perhaps it is the sense that ideas don’t burn that makes this such a powerful statement. In which case, where do they go, when so emphatically rejected by the arbitrary and malevolent forces of “the real world”? Is there some sort of continuum, a “space behind the curtain” so to speak that allows minds to connect and reconnect with the essence of burned manuscripts? These are some of the questions that came to mind in the process of exploration engendered by this project.
OBELISCOLYCHNY —an appellation that intoxicates the viewer with the potentials of unknown narratives, filled with mysterious possibilities leading to…what exactly? Obelisk-shaped lighthouses? Spit-lanterns wearing high-crown’d hats? A windmill inhabited by a cuckoo clock? Imagine these things and more, with the publication of the artist’s book, Obeliscolychny, featuring two etchings by David Avery and excerpts from Rabelais and Jarry connected with the abovementioned term.
Oxford English Dictionary:
Etymology: <Middle French obeliscolychnie (Rabelais, 1548-52) <ancient Greek ??????????????? a spit used (by soldiers) as a lamp-holder < ????????? OBELISK n. + ??????? lamp-stand (see LYCHNIDIATE adj.)
A lighthouse: a lamp-bearer.
The final state my etching Obeliscolychny is now completed and can be seen on my website. It will ultimately become the visual component of a limited edition artist’s book that will attempt to bring together the image with the texts from which the ideas that inspired it were derived.
“Obeliscolychny?” you may be tempted to ask.
And with good reason. Arguably one of the most obscure and rarely used terms to be found in literature (or anywhere else), but with, perhaps, undue influence relative to its obscurity, obeliscolychny was invented/appropriated by Francois Rabelais (@1483-1553) and used in books IV and V of his sprawling tales of Gargantua and Pantagruel. Possibly derived from Aristotle’s Politics, which used it to describe a kind of spit used by soldiers to hang lamps on as a metaphor for…well, something or other, it acquired the meaning somewhere along the way of a lighthouse in the form of an obelisk.
Centuries later, Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), poet, playwright, critic, puppeteer, and subverter of objective reality, discovered the word while reading Rabelais and became enamored with it, using it (pataphysically, of course) in several of his novels. That these works tend to be as convoluted and recondite as the origins of obeliscolychny itself is part of what provides grist for the mill of this project.
We are expecting the book to be completed soon, and are aiming for an opening event in mid July, so please stay tuned. Below are listed my most recent exhibitions.
Purchase Award, Ink, Press, Repeat 2013; 1/21 to 2/15/2013, Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts, William Patterson University, Wayne, NJ (Jacob Lewis—Pace Prints Chelsea).
Lindquist Purchase Award, 2013 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition; 1/17 to 2/20/2013, Bradbury Gallery, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR. (Anne Coffin-IPCNY).
Man, Machine and Nature; 1/17 to 3/1/2013, LA Print Space, Los Angeles, CA.
New Prints 2012; 2/1 to 3/9/2013, Visual arts Center, University of Texas at Austin, TX.
34th Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition; 3/9/13 to 4/20/13, Bradley University Galleries, Peoria, Il. (Stephen Goddard—Senior Curator, University of Kansas Kress Foundation).
24th National Drawing and Print Competitive Exhibition; 4/2 to 2/26/13, Gormley Gallery, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, MD. (Amy Cavanaogh Royce).
26th Annual McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition; 3/21 to 5/9/2013, Ambercrombie Gallery, Lake Charles, LA. (Claudia Schmuckli).
The New York Society of Etchers 3rd National Exhibition of Intaglio Prints; 5/20 to 6/7/2013, The National Arts Club, NY, NY. (Dr. Leonard Moss and Dr. Muriel Moss).