until 02.11. | #2584ARTatBerlin | White Square Gallery shows from 7th September 2019 the exhibition The Hairs, The Hats and Aunt Fancie with works by the artist Ashley Scott.
Gallerist and Art Historian Dr. Elena Sadykova, Berlin, writes in August 2019:
I enter the studio and am immediately sucked in by a round dance of colours. Almost blinded, I first notice countless colourful shadows fluttering around me through light-filled rooms. They seem to be thrown by strange colorful objects that occupy every free space in the studio and transform it into a kind of magical
in a tropical house.
This vision is very strong, because the sculptures are filled with a lightness, as if they consist only of air and color, which were beaten to the colorful foam. They give the impression of not being firm, light as a feather, buzzing, warm. The virtuoso handling of colours creates and supports this seemingly floating state and at the same time suggests the astonishing radiance of the sculptures. The colours shimmer, shine and glow inside the figures as if on their surface, where they flow into and over each other, transforming themselves into a firework of many new shimmering surfaces and sparkling dots.
Ashley Scott has once again struck a blow: with her new series of wall sculptures, she goes a decisive step further, both artistically and thematically. And in both cases she remains true to herself.
Ashley Scott, The Green-Ladies’ Wrath, 2019, raw fiber and acrylic paint on wood panels, 180 x 650 cm
The artist’s own family history continues to nourish her inspiration and form the leitmotif of her artistic development. The young African American deals with historical events that have swept her family along for generations, and has a number of her ancestresses appear as contemporary witnesses in her works.
It is more than just an interest in her own roots. Neither is the artist interested in deepening her historical studies. She is strongly driven by the question of the hidden source of her own art. With her ancestors she hopes and believes to find the answers. Where, for example, do their forms come from, or why does the material assume such a high significance for them? She is always on the lookout for this primal substance that would first enable her visions to take shape and then to live.
Ashley Scott chooses her protagonists in her family to enter into a fictional dialogue with them, as was often the case in real life, for example at the dining table at Thanksgiving. She finds or invents the essential in each person and captures it in her work. She thinks about the distant key events in the lives of her female relatives, whose names she knows for the most part. Up to the first women who had reached American soil in 1750 with a slave ship “Gold Coast”. Under the name Green, determined by slave traders.
To these unknown ancestors, of whom only the surname remains, Ashley lovingly dedicated the vision of the Africa coast shrinking to a small golden point, as they had kept it in their memory. These women hadn’t had much more than memories in their new lives either. Only what they were themselves, with their dark skin, their unruly hair and their strong will to live and survive, which was the source of their creativity. What all the women should have done with their hair! In order not to starve, they hid the grain in it. To even escape punishment or slavery, they used their hair as carriers of secret messages: they woven hidden signs into their hair and styled them as maps to show the others the safe way to freedom.
For Ashley, hair has therefore become a common denominator with her ancestors, but at the same time a symbol of creativity and inflexibility. Therefore hair and headdress form the formal framework of the new cycle. Apart from one important detail: the adoration of her favourite great-aunt “Aunt Fancie” *, to whom Ashley feels a mysterious connection all her life. The hatter. The artist of life. The source of inspiration. Her hats were distinctive works of art, which Ashley Scott cannot forget until today.
She assumes that in her exuberant, flowery beauty the origin of her own creative world view can be found. It’s a pity that she doesn’t own a single one of them. They have all been lost. Of course not quite. Their imaginative extravagance blazes in Ashley’s sculptures, giving them their unique liveliness and luminosity. And makes many tormenting questions superfluous.
*Although slavery was officially abolished and banned in 1865, it took about 50 years for the effects of the ban to be felt, the trend towards adaptation began and has not ended yet. In the 60 years of the 20th century the “Great Migration” began from the southern states of the USA to the more progressive north. Aunt Fancie moved from Alabama to Chicago, was part of the Civil Rights Movement and opened her own hat shop. The first truly emancipated and very creative woman of the Green family, who naturally drew her strength and assertiveness from her own family history.
(Comment by Ashley Scott.)
Vernissage: Friday, 6 September 2019, 7 – 9 pm
Ausstellungsdaten: Saturday, 7 September – Saturday, 2 November 2019Zur White Square Gallery
Image caption cover: Ashley Scott. Losing Hats, 2019, raw fiber and acrylic paint on canvas, 160 x 175 cm
Exhibition Ashley Scott – The Hairs, The Hats and Aunt Fancie – White Square Gallery | Zeitgenössische Kunst | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin