Avery Singer is updating impressionism for the 21st century

By
Photography Bjarne x Takata

Published December 8, 2017

A native New Yorker raised by artist parents in the family’s Tribeca loft, Avery Singer has had a front-row seat to the city’s creative class her entire life. Much of the 30-year-old painter’s work—which she renders by airbrushing acrylics onto large-scale canvases, often in black-and-white—has centered on fictional scenes depicting artists at work and at play, from an awkward studio visit to a solo binge-drinking session. Singer’s distinctive, architectural backdrops and almost neo-cubist figures are created using the 3-D modeling program SketchUp. From there, she traces the rendering onto a canvas. Although her human forms sometimes lack eyes and mouths, they convey excitement and melodrama through exaggerated poses and tousled hair.

Since joining Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in 2015, the same year her work appeared in the third installment of the New Museum Triennial, Singer has been moving toward abstraction. But her most recent body of work returns to figuration with a Days of the Weak series of seven pieces based on the days of the week. (The idea came to Singer when Camille Henrot invited her to participate in a show that considered the week as an arbitrary construct at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo.) Singer’s canvas for Saturday, for example, evokes the impressionists with its portrayal of someone rowing a canoe, wearing a beret, with the dappled light of trees falling on them. “If you’re going to make an original statement in painting, you also have to address its history,” she says. “All artists, but especially painters, have to deal with the issue of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.”

 

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