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March Avery (b. 1932) is one of the most active and singular painters of the last 50 years. A new exhibition at Blum & Poe (through January 9) highlights not only selected masterpieces from across the decades, but her more recent work as well. Avery’s portraits and landscapes are somehow both reductive and maximal at the same time, illustrative in their spatial and anatomical bluntness but gestural and emotional in their contours and palettes.

Details of posture, expression, scale, and perspective are organized in blocks and bands and archipelagos according to abstract properties, but at the same time her scenes deftly communicate essential states of mind. Both narratives and functional armatures for color blocking, textures and patterning, her compositions preserve and honor the fleeting moments that make up the totality of a life.

March Avery, Cat naps, 1971, Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 x 3/4 inches © March Avery, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe

L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?

MARCH AVERY: I always wanted to be an artist. I always knew, and I didn’t really know anyone did anything else.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I always had a desire to be an architect.

Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?

I had no formal art education. I have a BA from Barnard College with a philosophy major.

March Avery, Molly in the Gazebo, 1987, Oil on canvas, 42 x 52 inches © March Avery, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe

When was your first show?

My first show was at The Waverly Gallery in New York City in 1957.

When is/was your current/most recent/next show?

I currently have a solo show at Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles.

Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?

I listen to public radio, WNYC in New York.

Website, please!

blumandpoe.com/artists/march_avery

March Avery, Bearsville Window, 1991, Oil on canvas, 30 x 42 inches © March Avery, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe

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