Absence, Presence and an Anniversary

April 25, 2016

Exactly one year ago, I married the love of my life.  Today, like many milestones, we share it in separate cities.  Because of our physical distance, I create new visual spaces in which my husbands presence can be experienced.  In the absence of his physical body, I re-present it in intimate, colorful, and sometimes funny ways.  For those of you who have been scratching your head about why a pantsless paper doll of my husband has been invading my Instagram, here's your answer.

 

Here's a year in review, of how our relationship has influenced my work. 

 

One year ago I created Veil : a work that was an exploration of previously unfamiliar materials and challenged ways of working that encompass attributes I love about painting: translucency, the application of layers, repetition, and time. It also considered my grander thoughts about intimacy, touch and familial relationships.

 

Each mascara-coated lash is a mark of time.  This is evident in the long scroll of acetate paper that undulates onto the floor.  The painted marks increase with frequency as they trickle down the bottom of the sanded acetate.  Swirling spotted patterns are made from the rubbings of my finger tips and the ground beneath my feet. The accumulation of these marks of “noir”, “blackest black”, “brownish black” and “midnight blue” mascara speak to my background and generational connection to the beauty industry. 

 

The act of painting with a very delicate and vital part of my body, my eyes, explores ideas of intimacy.  It is worth noting that this process required sacrifice; my eyelashes began breaking off as layers of dried mascara caused them to snap.  Relationships often demand this self-less sacrifice.  The repetitive act is a caressing gesture to my fiancé and our impending marriage.  I am conscious of the way these materials and their arrangement are referential to marriage.  The materials unfurl toward the viewer like an altar or the train of a wedding dress. In the video there is a scene in which the piece is shot sideways both from the left and the right.  This is like an equal partnership.

 

 

 Commingling oil on board //  a portrait of my husband and a self portrait of me, in strands of hair. 

 

 

Paper doll husband has been a little performance, a little photography.  It's a way of creating that yields a lot of satisfaction because it's immediate, unlike painting which can be long suffering and laborious.  It's a way of addressing issues of absence and presence and it makes me giggle at a situation that is often lonely and painful. If you missed this on my Instagram feed, you can follow me here

 

 

Projection and the figure:

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TAMPA, FL    ashleynicoleartistry@gmail.com      813-409-1207 

copyright Ashley Cassens 2017-19