Fall 2019, Volume 27

From the Art Editor

Imagine visiting a friend’s home. They have a newborn, and at a certain point the parents lean in and catch baby’s gaze. They speak plainly and lucidly to baby about calculus. Math. Baby continues to coo and paddle its limbs. It smiles from less to more, less to more. How compelling is the tale of Newton’s encounter with roadblocks at the cutting edge of ancient physics, the creation of calculus to leap those impasses, the resulting advancement of humanity's knowledge another mega jot. What drama! Who could fail to appreciate such history?

A baby, probably, all cooing to the contrary. So.

Some polite wondering out loud on your part could follow. Are you being funny? Did an algebra tutorial given yesterday with motherís milk go very, very well? Maybe my friends believe their child IS getting a head start on a difficult subject, in the sense that the tones and intimacies of joyful storytelling, the bond between teller and listener, are having their first exercises. A groundwork for learning is being laid, details of advanced mathematics to come later, when babyís language and intellect catch up.


While I have been in awe of David Averyís images from first sight, today Iím awfully pro his artistís statement. Particularly note how ďreceptivityĒ figures in. Davidís broadening conclusion is as elegant and deft a paragraph about what it is to be an artist as Iíve read in many years.

A baby is perhaps our best human example of receptivity, and much has written in other fields about how that ebbs with growing up.

Iíll venture that part of what makes a rare artist like David valuable to us and to artists just being born is that, beyond the manifest content of his images, he demonstrates a receptivity, a way of being conscious, thatís burgeoned as heís lived.

It not just learning all there was to learn from etching masters who preceded him. Itís more than representing the issues of oneís idiosyncratic era, and more than embodying the humility and gallows humor that attends witnessing Fate having its hard way with us all.

Itís all these yet then sharing a consciousness that is witty and precise and tainted with hope. What a mess earthlings are in now, we must admit, but like a baby offered calculus, we can keep eyes wide open and struggle to improve ourselves though we donít always know what to do with the tools we have. Let's at least talk again with friends and expect to find a way, together, okay? Okay.

                                                                                     — Jack Miller