Widewalls: March Avery’s Exhibition at Blum & Poe Captures Daily Scenes Shared with Close Friends or Family

July 31, 2022

Balasz Takac

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Abstract Expressionism has brought an outstanding set of figures who truly revolutionized artmaking. It was a wide phenomenon that drew numerous artists who also experimented by blurring the line between figuration and abstraction. This particular tendency was even embraced by the later generation to which the outstanding colorist March Avery belongs.

Although she obtained a diploma in philosophy, throughout the years, this artist developed a body of work that turned her into a compelling practitioner widely acknowledged. Her reduced figuration embodied through still lifes, domestic scenes, landscapes, and other depictions of everyday life imposed an unpretentious kind of artmaking that has a special place in the canon.

Blum & Poe is currently hosting the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery and her first in Tokyo. Titled The Family, it showcases a selection of oil paintings and watercolors that illustrate how March approaches intimate moments shared with loved ones.

The Stylistic Persuasions of March Avery

The practice of March Avery was informed by the summers she spent with her parents, artists Sally Michel and Milton Avery, who were respected artists. By being exposed to the activity of their family friends, Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko, young March started developing her unique style that hoovers between Realism and Abstract Expressionism. An important aspect that differentiates the artist’s creative process from her parents is the use of a camera alongside sketching. Also, March Avery draws inspiration from her own imagination.

Familiar Feelings

The display includes the painting Quiet Pleasure March Avery made in 1970. It is a portrait of a woman set against a turquoise backdrop which encapsulates the overall atmosphere of the works that comprise The Family. The myriad of images illustrating peaceful aspects of human experiences, such as a mother cradling her baby before breastfeeding in Karla and Nicholas (1960); the quiet intimacy of reading together in Reading Aloud (1972); the enjoyment of having a cup of coffee in Garden Breakfast (2007).

One of the works portraying the artist’s intimacy is Handheld Shower (2005) which captures Philip Cavanaugh, who was Avery’s husband for more than 60 years. The painting With Checker Players (Kelly and Sally) (1984), which features the passive act of human bonding through subtle body language, represents the best artist’s treatment of color.

March Avery at Blum & Poe

The artist skillfully captures the simplicity of joyous moments that are often undetectable yet seem more important than ever in the light of the current times saturated by the world crisis. The current exhibition offers a plunge into March’s signature style characterized by vibrant colors and subtle and easy-to-connect with compositions.

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