August Artists: #2 James and Eleanor Avery

For the second part in our August Artists series, we interviewed artists James and Eleanor Avery.

Installation shot from a show earlier this year in Sydney

James and Eleanor Avery

Benny Bunny (2016) Laminate, plywood, timber, hand-carved jelutong wood, enamel paint 198 x 165 x 64 cm; Rio (2016) Plywood, fur fabric 230 x 170 x 3 cm

Exhibition image from Heroes at Galerie Pompom, Sydney 2016.


What was your BSR award and what year were you here?

Our award was an Australia Council studio residency in 2008.  We have returned to the BSR during the summer months four times since our original residency.

Where do you make your artwork?

Predominantly in our studio in Brisbane, Australia, but we spend a lot of time in the UK and Europe where we work in any space available!

Where is your next exhibition?

We are currently working on a commission for two sculptures which will be permanently sited in a public space in Sydney, to be installed in 2017.  After August in the BSR studio we have a studio residency at the Siena Institute of Art where we will host an ‘open studio’ for the work we complete during our time there.

Do you have a highlight from your time as award-holders?

It’s impossible to pinpoint one specific highlight as our whole residency experience was brilliant.  Just being in Rome is a highlight in itself and each time we return we find new things to see.  The final mostra was a high point for us.  The work we made during our award was a significant shift in our practice which led on to many new developments in our work.  It was great to show alongside all the other resident artists and was a fantastic culmination of our award.

What is your favourite thing about the BSR?

Definitely the opportunity to work alongside other artist award-holders and academics in such a creative and stimulating environment.   We have formed lasting friendships here, some of which have led on to collaborations and participation in curated shows in the UK and Rome.  We have always loved the format and energy of the studio spaces and the recently upgraded windows and skylights have significantly improved the studio light and temperature.

And of course there’s Fragolina!

Do you have a favourite place/museum/gallery in Rome?

For James – the Villa Giulia Etruscan museum.  For Eleanor – the Basilica of San Clemente for its three levels, two of which are below ground and span from a 2nd century mithraeum up to the present basilica built in the Middle Ages.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your living room what would it be?

This changes all the time, but currently it would be Early Morning by Samuel Palmer and The Hunt in the Forest by Uccello.

Do you have a favourite gelato flavour?

For James – nocciola and mirtillo.  For Eleanor – cioccolato extranoir and lampone, both sorbets.  All from GROM.