The first series (oil and archival print on canvas, all painted in 2017), sees archival news items and documents set beside abstract letterforms and invented typographical marks. In three of these works, The Talismans, a solid area of precise, maze-like line in a single primary colour occupies the same area as its neighbouring media fragment. In the works titled Portraits of my Mother, irregular geometric flourishes suggest a calligraphic pen, forming compositions with unfinished characters and punctuation.
The works that make up the series All my Love, 2017 (oil paint and paper carbon transfer on canvas) consider an association between historical experiences of social corruption and how they effect personal reflection. In each, an archival document is placed alongside a vividly delineated form in oil, proposing a complex relationship of interpretation, and recalling the ambivalent power of memory’s re-writeability.
Ashford was a member of the New York-based artist collective Group Material (1982-1996), early exponents in socially engaged public practice. In addition to his work as an artist, Ashford is Associate Professor at The Cooper Union in New York City, where he has taught since 1989. A selection of his writing was published on the occasion of his solo exhibition at the Grazer Kunstverein in 2013: Doug Ashford: Writings and Conversations.
Doug Ashford’s work has been exhibited extensively. Most recently, he participated in biennials at Ekaterinburg (RU) and Gwangju (ROK) and in A Poethical Wager at MoCA Cleveland (US). In 2014-15 his work was shown in Beyond the Black Square, Whitechapel Gallery London (UK), and Future Light, Vienna Biennial (AT). Other recent shows include dOCUMENTA(13), as well as Abstract Possible: The Stockholm Synergies, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (SE) in 2012, and Sharjah Biennial 10, Sharjah (UAE). Ashford’s work also appears in the upcoming group exhibition First Person Plural: Intimacy, Empathy, Irony and Anger at BAK, Utrecht, opening May 12th, 2018.
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