Following Alex Gorlizki’s multi-disciplinary straddling of Jaipur and Brooklyn, we arrive today at the work of another artist whose inspiration seems born of a strange hybrid of cultures. Charles Avery’s...
Following Alex Gorlizki’s multi-disciplinary straddling of Jaipur and Brooklyn, we arrive today at the work of another artist whose inspiration seems born of a strange hybrid of cultures. Charles Avery’s ‘The Islanders’ is an epic project of visual, intellectual and philosophical invention – an immersive fictional world which draws on the artist’s experience of the Scottish Hebrides, the back streets of Rome and the east end of London.
The backbone of the project are the artist’s drawings, often large in scale and focusing on every conceivable detail of island life, both human, botanical, zoological, geographical and architectural. For the past 20 years these drawings have gently pushed the narrative forward, weaving a storyline that seems to function in parallel to our own universe, populated by people and things that are at once both familiar and a little strange.
I confess that when we first met Charles over 20 years ago and he told us that he was planning to devote the rest of his life to this all-consuming single project, we thought he was a bit mad and looked the other way. More fool us. But though we arrived late on the Island’s shore, it has been one of the great pleasures of the last 6 years of the gallery to be involved in its ongoing story, staging ‘The People and Things of Onomatopoeia’, for the Edinburgh Art Festival in the Summer of 2015 and last year’s ‘Gates of Onomatopoeia’ which included a giant, mathematically-inspired tree standing nearly 6 metres tall in the centre of the gallery.