About Eric Avery Art/Medicine
1973; John Glowczwski
1981; Harry Benson
1981; Roger Haile
1997; Harvard Crimson
2016; Roger Haile
Born November 8, 1948 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Raised in Pecos, Texas
Bachelor of Art in Fine Art, University of Arizona, 1970
Medical Doctor, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, 1974
Psychiatry Residency, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City, 1976 - 1979
Medical Doctor Ship Sea Sweep, Indonesia 1980
Medical Director, Las Dhure Refugee Camp, Somalia, 1980-1981
Lived in San Ygnacio, Texas, 1981-1992, making and exhibiting his art and working as the Southern Region Refugee Coordinator for Amnesty International USA
Returned to the Practice of Medicine in 1992 as the Consultation-Liaison HIV Psychiatrist at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and joined the faculty at The Institute for the Medical Humanities at UTMB
Lived in Galveston, Texas 1992-2013
Retired (August 31, 2012) as Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Member of The Institute for the Medical Humanities at The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas
Currently, Emeritus Associate Professor, The Institute for the Medical Humanities, UTMB, Galveston, Texas.
Eric currently splits his time between New Hope, Pennsylvania and San Ignacio Texas continuing to make his art and develop art medicine projects.
Sue Coe, artist, author and illustrator, on Eric Avery
"I first met Dr. Eric Avery through a letter from Somalia. He was working as a doctor in a refugee camp with thousands of human beings who were starving to death. A photograph in Life magazine shows Eric in the middle of the camp that stretched for miles, a figure at dusk holding up a tiny baby into the light, silhouetted by dusty tents. It was there that Eric started to make woodcuts—to record the terrible sights he had seen and, as his scalpel cut into the wood, as therapy.
If you are fortunate enough to be a friend of Eric’s, you will receive woodcut cards of plants and birds, shells and trees, as purely and simply illustrated as engravings by the 19th-century British naturalist Thomas Bewick. That would be sufficient for most artists, but for Eric, harsh truth is as urgently beautiful.
Eric uses science and art in tandem to heal. He transmutes the chaff of suffering into art. Eric always says “life before art” as he plunges into healing the victims of society wherever he finds them—in crack houses, on death row—refugees on the broken borders of life or death, the poor, the abandoned. They become alive in his art; their content creates his form.
His work as an artist/psychiatrist treating patients with HIV has become a document of historical record and is as sophisticated and powerful as any Dürer woodcut. It is the antibody to our disease of distance. Dominant culture flattens all experience, rendering reality into irony. We no longer trust ourselves to experience life directly. Eric makes art in the tradition of reportage; there is a direct emotional involvement with his subjects, a witnessing that is devoid of sentiment. The humility of small woodcuts depicting faces of cherished patients, printed on paper that is made from hospital sheets or the clothing of AIDS orphans, subverts and unravels the dominant social ideology of power and superiority."
Read about Eric Avery: Political Prints and Paper Making
Text by Eric Avery with illustrations Hand Papermaking, Summer 2004
To learn more about Eric Avery, Art/Medicine, including expansive portfolios, published works, prints for sale and in-depth looks at many of his pieces, please visit docart.com