Since 2004, Charles Avery has devoted his practice to the description of a fictional Island, which he continues to elaborate with its own population, customs and cosmology, nature and architecture, expressed in the form of large-scale drawings, sculptures, installations, texts and moving images. This on-going body of work created within a specific framework is rooted in Avery’s own life and upbringing on the Isle of Mull, off the West coast of Scotland. The Island is located at the centre of an archipelago of innumerable constituents. The gateway to the Island is the town of Onomatopoeia—once the stepping off point of the pioneers who first came to the place, turned colonial outpost, turned boom town, bustling metropolis, depression ravaged slum, to regenerated city of culture and tourist destination.
Born in Oban, Scotland in 1973, Charles Avery lives and works in London. The first most comprehensive presentation of The Islanders 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. The most recent survey show, showcasing the last five years of Avery’s Islanders project, was held in 2015 at the Gemeente Museum in The Netherlands. Recent solo exhibitions include: Study #15: Charles Avery, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2017); The People and Things of Onomatopoeia: Part 2, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London (2017); Charles Avery: The People And Things of Onomatopoeia, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (2015); What’s the matter with Idealism?, Gemeente Museum, The Hague (2015); fig-2 2/50 Charles Avery, ICA Studio, London (2015); What’s so great about Happiness? The people and things from Onomatopoeia, Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam (2014); It Means It Means! – A Drawn Exhibition by Charles Avery & Tom Morton at the Museum of Art, Onomatopoeia and Pilar Corrias Gallery, London, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London (2013); It Means, It Means! – A Drawn Exhibition by Charles Avery & Tom Morton at the Museum of Art, Onomatopoeia and Galerie Perrotin, Paris, Galerie Perrotin, Paris (2013); Vitrines: Charles Avery, L’Antenne, Le Plateau, FRAC Ile de France, Paris; and Galleria S.A.L.E.S, Rome (2013); Place de la Revolution, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London (2011); Onomatopoeia, Part 1, EX3- Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Florence; Kunstverein Hanover; and FRAC île-de-france Le Plateau, Paris (2010).
Recent group exhibitions include: Art Night 2017, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017); Drawing Conclusions, RISD Museum, Providence (2016); The Improbable City, Edinburgh Art Festival 2015, Edinburgh (2015); Feels like Heaven, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2014); The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene, Taipei Biennial (curated by Nicholas Bourriaud), Taipei (2014); Intenzione Manifesta, Castello di Rivoli (curated by Beatrice Merz and Marianna Vecellio), Turin (2014); GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2014); Year After Year: Works on paper from the UBS Art Collection, Galleria d’Arte Moderna (GAM), Milan (2014); Drawing Room 2013, Carre St Anne, Montpellier (201)3; The World is Almost Six Thousand Years Old, Collection and Usher Gallery, Lincoln (2013); Imagining Islands: Artists and Escape, The Courtauld Gallery (2013); Haunts and Follies, Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne (2012); Altermodern, 4th TATE Triennial, London (2009); Life Forms, Bonniers Konsthalle, Stockholm (2009); A Walk in Your Mind, Hayward Gallery, (2009); A Duck for Mr Darwin, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2009).
Avery represented Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, participated in the British Art Show 7 and Folkestone Triennial in 2011, and was included in the 2014 Taipei Biennial