Visual Arts Program
 

Friday, May 10, 2019 — Friday, June 28, 2019

Ashley Smith




Inspired by Jungian psychology and mythology, Ashley Smith's process is an alchemical cauldron where personal narratives about womanhood, motherhood, research about art, stories, and myths of the wild woman archetype who represents the instinctive nature of woman are boiled together and transmuted to create abstract sculptural forms and installations that sprout from the wall and grow from the ground.

Common objects such as plastic eggs, mesh screen, Q-tips, and straws, are transformed through meticulous craft into sculptures which appear to have metastasized like a science experiment gone awry. Relating to the human body in size and scale, each piece is visceral, yet unashamedly indulges in surface textures made of epoxy clay, beads, oil paint, and glitter that are akin to ornate jewelry and decoration. Each work is a riot of color with undulating forms that bubble, melt, drip, and ooze, both seductive and terrifying, evocative of growth and decay.

There is an undeniable darkness expressed in the form and content of this work. Specifically, she is engaging in the practice of making Descansos. According to Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author of Woman Who Run with the Wolves, "Descansos are symbols that mark death" and are made as part of a "conscious practice" that honors "the aspects of yourself that were on their way to somewhere but never arrived." This work functions for Smith as "death sites" and "love notes" that secures narratives to the earth, laying them to rest.