‘A New Visual Reality’: Watch Artist Avery Singer Blend Analog and Digital Techniques to Create Her Figurative Paintings

As part of a collaboration with Art21, hear news-making artists describe their inspirations in their own words.

Production still from the Art21 "New York Close Up" film, "Avery Singer's Next Painting." © Art21, Inc. 2017.

The recently-opened exhibition “Unity Bachelor” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, features recent works by the artist Avery Singer, who deftly blends analog and digital tools to create complex paintings. Using commercially available software to model and animate figures that serve as pseudo-architectural renderings, Singer then uses airbrush techniques to create layers of content, building up a narrative physically on the canvas.

In “Unity Bachelor,” Singer has debuted a new series of fictionalized works based on her real-life experience coming of age in New York in the early aughts. The geometric approach to figuration Singer employs, as in the 2022 painting Free Fall, which is set against the backdrop of September 11, 2001, evokes the sharp-edges of Manhattan’s skyline, forever changed in one day, and the fractured memories of collective trauma.

In an exclusive interview filmed back in 2017 as part of Art21’s series New York Close Up, the artist reflected on her very particular process, and how it informs the subject of her works, explaining “the way that paintings are made is almost the content.”

“I would like to keep it a bit more vague and explore things with the technique,” she added about her method of using traditional tools in a contemporary way. “The technique tells its own story.”

“The juxtaposition of all these things produces meaning. I try to put things side by side that may have never been seen together before to produce a new relationship or just to produce a new visual reality.”

Watch the video, which originally appeared as part of Art21’s series New York Close Up, below. Avery Singer: Unity Bachelor” is on view through Oct 15, 2023 at ICA Miami.


This is an installment of “Art on Video,” a collaboration between Artnet News and Art21 that brings you clips of news-making artists. A new season of the nonprofit Art21’s flagship series Art in the Twenty-First Century is available now on PBS. Catch all episodes of other series, like New York Close Up and Extended Play, and learn about the organization’s educational programs at Art21.org.

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