Filter by Type
Filter by Category
Filter by Size
Filter by Year
David Avery: Macabre Minutiae
Revisiting the works of Old Masters with the intricate detailing of a contemporary sardonic eye, David Avery's etchings are witty updates of classic motifs. Macabre Minutiae presents prints from the artist's multi-decade career, exploring the foibles and follies of the modern world through the complex and endless possibilities of the etching medium.
Working out of his studio in San Francisco, Avery eschews color and exclusively produces etchings in traditional black and white, finding the tonalities of this sparse palette most suitable for the psychological mood of his artwork. Avery trained as a classical musician, and only discovered etching by accident in a class at a local community college. After learning the basic techniques, he set forth exploring the medium on his own and is essentially self-taught.
Within Avery's works are elements of both the past and present, referencing master etchers and engravers of the past 400 years and their literary counterparts, alongside contemporary iconography. Avery thus creates pieces that bridge old and new – prints that look akin to something from the studios of Goltzius or Dürer but comment upon our modern concerns. Often working in miniature format, his etchings are skillfully packed with people, monsters, skeletons, and various objects bursting into the image's margins through chaotic energy. These invented worlds are darkly humorous and so full of ambiguous minutiae, as to invite multiple interpretations from the audience beyond anything originally intended by the artist.
While Avery's prints have previously been included in many group shows at Childs, Macabre Minutiae represents his first solo exhibition with the gallery. His work has been in over 200 competitive and invitational exhibits, garnering several awards, and he is included in the collections of the Library of Congress, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the New York Public Library, the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, and the Stanford University Library among others. Additionally, his work has been noted in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. Avery is a member of the Boston Printmakers, an international, professional print alliance based in Boston; this exhibition is held in conjunction with the association's 75th anniversary.
David Avery: Macabre Minutiae is on view in our upstairs print department, October 5 through December 9, 2023. An opening reception with the artist will be held Thursday, October 5, 6-8pm.