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Issue 43 Artist Statement

Lauriston Avery

The cover art for this issue of BLR was created in response to my recovery from addiction. In the disorienting early days, very little made sense to me, especially in the studio where I struggled to find a connection to my art.

Whether it was defiance or desperation, I turned to what was immediately on hand—construction adhesive—something that seemed oddly fated to this unsettled moment. I played first with a caulk gun, squeezing out the adhesive into simple forms. This led to obsessively populating the surface of stretched canvas with multitudes of squares and circles in all kinds of configurations. Intermittently I would apply washes of white acrylic paint. Then came the power tools—drills, sanders, grinders, scrapers—to carve away and further manipulate the material.

As the surface of the paintings started to accrue a history, systems and relationships within the shapes would begin to appear: line work would mix with light and shadow, conduits would intertwine within clusters, texture would accent the scarred fields of canvas. The paintings began to reveal ghostly forms, fragments of landscape, and arcane architecture. I interpreted these imageries as otherworldly signals and began to lean into this notion, scanning the surface for messaging while adding my own androids, aliens, and cathedrals. It became almost a séance-like conversation with the paintings over the course of many months, until finally they were finished.

This invisible world made tangible through painting continues to animate my practice, and it’s hard to imagine how these works would have come to light without the profound and often bewildering experience of recovery.