In 2004, Charles Avery embarked on what will be a lifelong project titled The Islanders: a painstakingly detailed description of a fictional world that functions in parallel to our own universe, realised in drawing, painting, sculpture and text. These large-scale, narrative drawings and sculptural installations question our ideas about the nature of time, place and being. Elements of the project have been exhibited at the Parasol Unit, London, and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. In 2007, Avery represented Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale, and in 2014 Avery was exhibited in the National Gallery of Modern Art as a part of the GENERATION project, which celebrated 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland.
A major solo exhibition focussing on the inhabitants and artefacts of The Island's bustling port town, The People and Things of Onomatopoeia, was presented at Ingleby Gallery in the Summer of 2015 and was accompanied by a public commission in Waverley Station for the Edinburgh Art Festival 2015 and projects at the Parasol unit, London. A new publication continuing the narrative of of The Islanders titled Onomatopoeia: Its People and Surroundings was launched in 2016.
Avery’s The Islanders project evolves further as he situates elements of the town of Onomatopoeia within the city of Kochi for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kerala, including fly-posting bills advertising the Eternal Dialectic in the existing architecture of the city, in March 2017. Study #15. Untitled (The Ninth Resort) at the David Roberts Art Foundation, London presented a focussed display of Avery's work accompanied by newly commissioned text by Nicholas Bourriaud (20 January – 8 April 2017).
Charles Avery's installation (Untitled) Dihedra was presented as part of NOW at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (1st June to 22 September 2019) and a significant solo presentation of work by Avery, entitled The Gates of Onomatopoeia was exhibited at Ingleby from 27 April - 13 July 2019.
Charles Avery will present his work at the Pera Museum as part of the 16th Istanbul Biennial, from the 14 September to the 10 November 2019.