CHARLES AVERY

CHARLES AVERYCHARLES AVERY

source: artsynet

Through an extended series of meticulous drawings and bold sculptures, London-based artist Charles Avery has created a fictional land simply called “the Island.” Avery’s entire body of work since 2004 has been devoted to the exploration and expansion of the customs, people, and cosmologies of this imagined place. Most recently, he has focused on the capital city of Onomatopoeia, where its denizens (who resemble humans) attend art openings, ride bikes, and wear clothing that resists identification with any single era, country, or culture. By conjuring this ahistorical, apolitical world, Avery addresses themes of utopia, dystopia, and globalization.
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source: inglebygallery

Charles Avery was born in Oban in 1973 and spent most of his childhood on the island of Mull off the West coast of Scotland. Since 2004, Avery has exclusively devoted his practice to his epic project The Islanders. Through drawings, paintings, sculptures and texts, Avery tells the story of a fictional island with its own inhabitants, culture, religion, nature and architecture.

The most comprehensive presentation of this project, The Islanders: An Introduction, was exhibited at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London in 2008 and toured to The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Museum Boijamas Van Beunigan, Rotterdam in 2009.
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source: hifructose

While some artists seem to explore themes that come to them through spontaneous inspiration, Scottish-born, London-based artist Charles Avery has devoted his career over the past decade to an imaginary, nameless island. His sculptures, drawings, installations and texts — even if seemingly unrelated — culminate in the description of a specific, fictional world like an anthropological study. Over the course of his work from 2004 to today, details about the island have revealed themselves. In fact, its fate isn’t so different from many other countries formerly under British rule.
Avery imagines his island as former colonial outpost that evolved into a metropolis, eventually taking a downward turn with only the tourism industry left to sustain itself. The artist himself grew up on the Isle of Mull off of the west coast of Scotland and there are sure to be autobiographical elements in this meticulously planned body of work. This elaborate backstory isn’t required for appreciating Avery’s sculptures, which juxtapose busts evoking the Classical period with contemporary design elements. The staid faces of his subjects are adorned with surreal, geometric headpieces created with unconventional, ephemeral materials such as papier-mache and cardboard. Avery’s minimalist color palette makes these details visually striking and all the more enigmatic.