Charles Avery - Artist in the studio, 2009

Charles Avery/ Charles Avery

United Kingdom 1973

Sculpture, Painting, Drawing

Charles Avery
Charles Avery
Male
United Kingdom
1973

Through his drawings, sculpture, paintings, installations and text, Charles Avery is telling the story about his fictional island and its inhabitants, their religion, culture, nature and architecture. His narrative is inspired by his childhood spent on the Isle of Mull off the West coast of Scotland which helped him to create a framework for his project The Islanders. His Island is located in the middle of the great archipelago. With the capital Onomatopoeia, this place is interesting cultural and tourist destination, thanks to the first settlers who built the metropolis. Avery actively works on his project since 2004. The first presentation of The Islanders: An Introduction was exhibited at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art in London, 2008.

Onomatopoeia is interesting tourist destination

Charles Avery - Untitled (View of the Port at Onomatopoeia, detail), 2009-2010 home gallery policy
Charles Avery – Untitled (View of the Port at Onomatopoeia, detail), 2009-2010

Welcome to Onomatopoeia

His recent focus is on the citizens of Onomatopoeia, creatures very similar to the humans. Drawing them in everyday situations in the cloth that doesn’t belong to any period of time or any culture, Avery represents the ahistorical and apolitical world, questioning the issues of globalization and utopia. In this mythic landscape live the different creatures who come out from their world into the real one in the form of sculptures. Mythical beasts haunt the inhabitants’ psyche, occupying their sense of reason. The salesman in the local market sells the pictures of the nude females for the price of peace of mind and the local specialty is the pickled eggs. All those dreamy characters come directly from Avery’s imagination in the moment of drawing.

The inhabitants are similar to humans

Charles Avery - Untitled (View inside the kelp bailing station), 2012 scottish privacy news
Charles Avery – Untitled (View inside the kelp bailing station), 2012

World Without the Squares

One more characteristic for the Islander’s is that they don’t like the number four and the right angles, so they sit on the three or five side tables because of more comfortable relations. He enjoys in the creation of the furniture for his imaginative world. Trying to constantly upgrade his ideas, there’s always something new happening, the city is developing and expanding. Avery hopes that The Islanders will be his life’s work with the culmination in the form of the encyclopedic book. With the ever present affection to the drawing, he found his models in Schiele, Daumier, Redon and Frank Lloyd Right and New Yorker cartoons. Predominantly self-taught as an artist, he went to Central St Martins school but dropped out after six months.

The sculptures are the souvenirs

Charles Avery - Untitled (The Plane of the Gods), 2006 home policy
Charles Avery – Untitled (The Plane of the Gods), 2006

Drawings vs Sculpture

Avery’s drawing skills and powerful imagination are clearly visible on his five meters wide drawing Untitled (View of the Port of Onomatopoeia). With the details focused on the center of the paper, he represents the group of strange inhabitants and the visitors who have arrived by boat. Very important for the understanding of his work is the relation between the drawings and the sculpture. The first ones are only the narratives, but sculptural things are the items that are sold to the tourists and therefore removed from their original context and put in reality, creating the connection between two worlds.

The Islanders have their own religion and culture

Charles Avery - Untitled (View of the MoAO from the direction of Place de la Revolution with Hammons, Hepworth, Koons, Unknown Easter Island Artist, 2012 scottish privacy news
Charles Avery – Untitled (View of the MoAO from the direction of Place de la Revolution with Hammons, Hepworth, Koons, Unknown Easter Island Artist, 2012

One Project for a Lifetime

Creating a unique mixture of the art mediums, permeating drawings, sculpture, painting and textual messages, Avery asserts his imagination in the attempt to make one different world. His characters have their own philosophy of living, their own culture, habits and rules. On the exhibitions, a broad selection of works is shown together offering the viewer to clearly comprehend topology and cosmology of the island. The Islanders project was a perfect way for the artist to direct his artistic ideas. Letting the narratives emerge, improvisation remained the main guide of his imaginative spirit.

Charles Avery lives and works in London.

All images © artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015What’s the matter with Idealism?GEM, Museum for Contemporary Art, The HagueSolo
2015The impossible cityEdinburgh Art FestivalSolo
2015FIG-2 (2-50)ICA, Institute for Contemporary Art, LondonGroup
2014What's so great about happiness? - The people and things of OnomatopoeiaGRIMM Gallery, AmsterdamSolo
2014Taipei Biennial: The Great AccelerationTaipei Fine Arts Museum, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, Taipei CityGroup
2014Huidige ZakenGrimm Gallery, AmsterdamGroup
2014Year after Year: works on paper from the UBS Art CollectionGalleria D'Arte Moderna di MilanoGroup
2014What’s so great about Happiness ? – The people and things from Onomatopoeia – Part 2Galleria S.A.L.E.S, RomeSolo
2014Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in ScotlandScottish National Gallery of Modern Art, EdinburghGroup
2013UntitledGalleria S.A.L.E.S, RomeSolo
2013It means it means Curated by Tom Morton Pilar Corrias, LondonSolo
2013The World is almost six thousand years oldCollection and Usher Gallery, LincolnGroup
2013Beastly Hall: A place where artists and creatures collideHall Place, BexleyGroup
2013A Parliament of linesPier Arts Centre, OrkneyGroup
2013Mijn Derde LandFrankendael Foundation, AmsterdamGroup
2013Vitrines: Charles Avery L'Antenne, Le Plateau, FRAC, ParisSolo
2013Imaginning Islands: Artists and EscapeThe Courtauld Gallery, LondonGroup
2012Galicica: Topographies of MythSOKOL, Nowy SaczGroup
2012A Parliament of linesThe Pier Arts Centre, OrkneyGroup
2012Machines for livingYaffo 23, JerusalemGroup
2012Hedendaagse surreele tekeningen uit Rotterdam, CollectieInstitut Neerlandais, ParisGroup
2012The comic side of ArtNest, Den HaagGroup
2012A Parliament of linesCity Art Centre, EdinburghGroup
2012A Parliament of linesECAC, ScotlandGroup
2012Le miroir et l'encyclopedieGalerie Michel Journiac, ParisGroup
2012Haunts and FolliesLinden Centre for Contemporary Arts, St. KildaGroup
2012New works from the Islanders project ( Concerning the Qoro-qoros, the Jadindagadendar and the Eternal dialectic)GRIMM Gallery, AmsterdamSolo
2012A Parliament of linesThe RMIT University Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2011Place de la RevolutionPilar Corrias, LondonSolo
2011A million miles from homeThe Folkestone Triennial, FolkestoneGroup
2011New drawings of OnomatopoeiaGalleria S.A.L.E.S, RomeSolo
2011A Million Miles from homeThe Folkestone Triennial, FolkestoneSolo
2011As the World turns: New Art from LondonAnna Schwartz Gallery, SydneyGroup
2010Onomatopoeia Part 1, Kunstverein, HanoverSolo
2010Charles Avery Onomatopoeia, Part 2: The PortPilar Corrias, LondonSolo
2010Recent British SculptureGRIMM Gallery, Amsterdam, curated by Tom MortonGroup
2010Acquisition presentation Contemporary DrawingsMuseum Boijmans van Beuningen, RotterdamGroup
2010Languages and ExperimentationsCasa d’Arte Futurista Depero, TrentoGroup
2010Onomatopoeia Part 1, FRAC’, Ile-de-France Le Plateau, ParisSolo
2010Onomatopoeia Part 1, EX3 Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea, FlorenceSolo
2009Walking in my mindHayward Gallery, LondonGroup
2009A Duck for Mr. DarwinBALTIC, GatesheadGroup
2009Altermodern: Fourth Tate TriennialCurated by Nicolas Bourriaud at Tate Britain, LondonGroup
2009Drawing 2009 Biennal FundraiserThe Drawing Room, LondonGroup
2009Onomatopoeia, Part 1: CreedsGalleria Sonia Rosso, TurinSolo
2009Life FormsBonniers Konsthall, StockholmGroup
2008Made UpInternational Festival of Contemporary Art, 5th Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool, LiverpoolGroup
2008irony & GestureKukje Gallery, SeoulGroup
2008Artfutures 2008Bloomberg Space, LondonGroup
2008The Islanders: An IntroductionParasol Unit, London; touring to The National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, RotterdamSolo
2008Scotland AND venice 2003, 2005, 2007Charles Avery, Simon Starling and Cathy Wilkes’, The Pier OrkneyGroup
2007The Islanders: An Introduction - Part IIIFaye Fleming & Partner (former Arquebuse), GenevaSolo
2007Scotland and Venice52nd Venice Biennale, ItalyGroup
2007The Lyon Biennale 2007, FranceThe Athens Biennale, GreeceGroup
2007Every eye sees differently as the eyeThe Drawing Room, LondonGroup
2007TimerThe Drawing Room, LondonGroup
2007Welcome to my worldAlexandre Pollazzon Ltd., LondonGroup
2007Ironie der objekteMUSEION Museum fur moderne und zeitgenossische Kunst, BolzanoGroup
2007Maquette of the Eternity ChamberFaye Fleming & Partner (former Arquebuse), GenevaSolo
2007Flip Francois GhebalyChung King Project, Los AngelesGroup
2006The Plane of the GodsCubitt Gallery, LondonSolo
2006Charles Avery and Keith WilsonAlexandre Pollazzon, LondonSolo
2006Charles Avery and Keith WilsonAlexandre Pollazzon Ltd., LondonGroup
2006The Islanders: An introduction - Part IIGalleria Sonia Rosso, TurinSolo
2005Hunting the NoumenonGalleria Archimede Staffolini, NicosiaSolo
2005Sculpture Garden Fortescue AvenueJonathan Viner, LondonGroup
2005MemphisFlaca, LondonGroup
2005TheoromaMusee d’Art Contemporain, AvignonGroup
2005Inaugurazione Nuovo SpazioGalleria S.A.L.E.S., RomeGroup
2005The Islanders : An IntroductionDoggerfisher, EdinburghSolo
2005AvatarsGalleria S.A.L.E.S, RomeSolo
2004It ThinksGalleria Sonia Rosso, TurinSolo
2004Premio del GolfoLa Spezia, ItalyGroup
2004Jerwood Drawing PrizeLa Spezia, ItalyGroup
2004TrailerMan in the Holocene, LondonGroup
2004Io mi ricordoGalleria S.A.L.E.S., RomeGroup
2004Love over GoldGallery of Modern Art, GlasgowGroup
2004Necessary kids, Charles Avery, Piotr Uklanski, Costa VeceGallerie Civico d’Arte Contemporanea di Siracusa, SicilyGroup
2004Dark ShadowsMarc Foxx Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
2004Works on paperArchimede Staffolini Gallery, Nicosia, CyprusGroup
2004Prospects Drawing PrizeTruman Brewery, LondonGroup
2004A measure of distanceMagnani, LondonGroup
2004Jerwood Drawing PrizeJerwood Space, London touring to MAC Birmingham; Glasgow School of Art; EICH Gallery, Hull; The Lowry, ManchesterGroup
2004Prospects Drawings PrizeTruman Brewery, LondonGroup
2004Supersonic and AlienS.A.L.E.S., Rome, ItalyGroup
2004Flights of RealityTurnpike Gallery, LeighGroup
2004Flights of RealityKettle’s Yard, Cambridge (group show with Keith Tyson, Grace Weir, Keith Wilson and Matthew Ritchie)Group
2004The HunterMan in the Holocene, LondonSolo
2003The Freedom of the UniverseGalleria S.A.L.E.S., RomeSolo
2003Il premio per la Giovanne Arte ItalianaGallery of Modern Art, GlasgowGroup
2003The Square Root of 2Sleeper, EdinburghSolo
2002Triangle LandDee-Glasoe Gallery, New YorkSolo
2002The Truth about the TruthDoggerfisher, EdinburghSolo
2002Contemporary Art projectMuseum of Modern Art, SeattleGroup
2001The Palace of the GullsPercy Miller Gallery, LondonSolo
2001GhostyMille Eventi, Milan, ItalyGroup
2001Works on paperS.A.L.E.S., Rome, ItalyGroup
2000The Riddle of Pooch AveryDee Glasoe Gallery, New YorkSolo
2000The Ghost of ScirribinNylon Gallery, LondonSolo
2000Made SpaceTalbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, touring to Changing Room, StirlingGroup
2000DrawingPercy Miller Gallery, LondonGroup
2000InnuendoDee-Glasoe Gallery, New YorkGroup
2000The Last YolkSonia Rosso Gallery, Pordenone, ItalySolo
2000Made SpacePekao Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
1999Charles AveryRichard Heller Gallery, Los AngelesSolo
1999Surveying the lanscapeLombard Freid Gallery, New YorkGroup
1999Selection from the FilesNylon, LondonGroup
1999The British on paperGalleria Sonia Rosso, Pordenone, ItalyGroup
1999The Life and Times of Nancy HaselswonTablet Gallery, LondonSolo
1999DrawTen in One Gallery, ChicagoGroup
1999Fine LineDuncan Cargill Gallery, LondonGroup
1999UntiledArchimede Staffolini Gallery, Nicosia, CyprusGroup
1998The creation of the OmniverseNylon, LondonSolo
1998Portraits of people who never existedEntwistle Gallery, LondonSolo