Avery Lawrence:
Moving a Tree

Avery Lawrence: Moving A Tree @ (e)merge art fair, Room 213
September 22 - 25, 2011
Capitol Skyline Hotel, Washington, DC

Heiner Contemporary is thrilled to announce its participation in (e)merge, a new art fair located in Washington, DC running from September 22 - 25, 2011. The gallery's room at the fair will feature a multi-media presentation by Avery Lawrence, a Charlottesville, VA artist whose work revolves around performance-based, public interventions.

For (e)merge, Lawrence created a work titled Moving A Tree, which documents and re-presents a performance centered on the story of a tree and the characters that destroy and then rebuild it. It comprises numerous elements, including live performance, video, installation, and drawing. Acting as protagonist, Lawrence finds a dying walnut tree and establishes a scene filled with potential. The narrative begins with the artist and tree as a pair in isolation, but as Lawrence engages the tree in search of a more profound connection, he is compelled to destroy it. Once the tree has been completely felled, Lawrence sets about the task of rebuilding it piece by piece. Through an incredible physical effort, he is able to resurrect the tree, but only in broken form.

Informed by Charles Ray's Hinoki, Lawrence's engagement, destruction, and displacement of the tree together offer a poetic account of the ephemeral quality of all natural objects, no matter how solid they may appear. Also inspired by Francis Alÿs's When Faith Moves Mountains, Moving A Tree references mankind's power to alter the natural world through physical labor.

Artist’s Statement:
For the last five years, my family and I watched as dementia overcame my grandfather. The act of witnessing and attempting to slow down his decay brought us together. He died in January. In Moving A Tree, I explore the process of creating an homage that honors his life, his passing, and the relationship he forged with my grandmother over sixty years of marriage.

There was a dying walnut tree on my grandparents’ property in Central Virginia. Through the process of moving it, I created a physical struggle that enabled me to contemplate my grandparents’ efforts to create a whole, loving family and maintain their own compassionate relationship. The characters I portray in Moving A Tree represent my grandmother and grandfather, and the (e)merge installation recreates their home. The walls are screen printed with portraits of my grandparents and imagery of a dissected tree.

Artist's Bio:
Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, Lawrence attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2008 with a degree in Visual Studies. Subsequently, he was commissioned by Chester River Press to create 52 illustrations for a fine press printing of the Iliad and Odyssey. After a stint in New Orleans, Lawrence returned to Charlottesville in 2009 and founded The Pomp, an experimental studio and print shop. Lawrence frequently stages performance-based interventions, which he plans and documents using photographs, sculptures, drawings, and video. His practice engages themes of potential, humor, exploitation, and vulnerability, and explores concepts of work and isolation.

(e)mege art fair presents emerging artists and galleries September 22 – 25, 2011 at the Rubell Family’s Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington, DC. For more information about (e)merge, visit: www.emergeartfair.com.

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