Art of reconstruction

In the frame: Plastic surgeon Dr Gary Avery at his surgery in Newcastle, which will host an art exhibition in August. Picture: Jonathan Carroll. A swag of talented Hunter artists have found an unlikely new champion in local plastic surgeon Dr Gary Avery.
Nanjing Night Net

The Sydney-raised father of three, an experiencedplastic surgeon who has worked in the region for the past five years in the public and private health system, has set up a solo practice in the Union Steam Ship building inWatt Street.

When Dr Avery and his clinical psychologistwife Samantha refurbished the historic buildings interiors, they decided to selecta handful of local artists to exhibit their works free of charge.

At its first exhibition on August 24, Avery Plastic Surgery will have hung artworks ranging in price from $200 to $2500 and collectively valued at up to $30,000.

Artists now in residence are contemporary astract painter Donna Buck, multi-disciplinary artist Gavin Vitullo, printmaker Alison Pateman, landscape artist Shelagh Lummis, multidisciplinary artist Sandy Lee and artist and abstract artist and GP Gordon Snow.

“It fits with us and what we want the practice to be, it’s about community,” says Dr Avery, whose professional memberships include the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, of the art focus.

Dr Avery obtained a pharmacy degree and was studying medicine when he was working at Concord Hospital in the burns unit.

“I found it quite confronting and thought if it was bad for me on the ‘good’ end of things then it must have been bad for the patients,” he says of that time, which informed his decision to undertake specialist plastic training after completing his medical degree.

Dr Avery performs skin cancer removal surgery, reconstructive procedures such as breast reconstruction and hand surgery, alongside a host of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures.

He and staff aim to create a warm, comfortable and safe environment for clients who often feel vulnerable upon stepping into a surgery.

“It’s one of the reasons I don’t have desk, I consult at a round table and we make decisions together, because it’s not my decision, it’s ours,” Dr Avery says.

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