Ashley E. Main, Gray, ME Member Since September 2009 Artist Statement DUALITY>
My art comes in two parts: photography and installation. These seem entirely unrelated, but are both a part of me.
My photography style is very much influenced by photojournalism and documentary photography. I photograph people and events because I love people. I fell in love with photographing as a unique way to connect with people across cultures through interaction and shared experience. I love digital photography because it takes the pictures off the gallery wall and gives it back to the masses, the everyman (or everywoman).
I think what it comes down to is that I’m interested in the interrelationship of all things.
I started as a painter, a realist. But I started to think about the relationship of flat canvas to the white wall and documenting images from life, and this bored me. So I started to think about three-dimensional relationships and interactions and I started thinking in the abstract, drawing from images in everyday life to translate them in my own language.
I use my ideas about three-dimensional relationships and abstract patterns to guide my material experiments. I’ve been experimenting with synthetic materials found in everyday life-plastics, duct tape, house paint, found objects and materials-because I’m interested in the idea of synthetic versus natural and the competition between the two. Yet they are very similar, synthetic and natural, because the synthetic is mimetic of the natural in ways. This push and pull is what interests me.
I don’t think my aim is to make new things in the world which would not be here had I not made them (though I thought this once). It’s more to translate the world as I see it. This interior world is a direct result of the exterior world I live it. It’s synthetic, plastic, fake, confined. Our twenty-first century aesthetic is over-the-top because we are constantly bombarded by media and advertising images. It is not evergreen, it is acid green. We have a unique relationship with the natural world around us-it is always an influence, but it is somehow removed. I think my material choice speaks to this relationship.
I like to use familiar forms in addition to materials. I’m especially interested in shelter, architecture, and furniture. I think this interest comes from my interest in the intersection between art and life. I like the idea of art as a livable space, art that you can walk on and touch. I like to sit on my art. I like to wear my art. Once again, I'm taking art off the pedestal and giving it back to the masses. We're the people who need it the most. In this way art has a very tangible, real and concrete relationship with people. Interaction is much more important to me than reaction.
My interest is not in provoking a specific reaction, but to encourage individual meaning generated through individual interaction. I don’t think of a concept beforehand, in fact I don’t like to use the word conceptual at all. I think meaning comes to me through my interaction with a piece, which is very different from others’ interactions.
My relationship with a work is very dependent on process. Rarely will my pieces resemble the original idea or sketch. I base my interaction with my materials on chaos and chance. These ideas are important to me, because these ideas are important to life. It’s necessary for me to work with things, not against them. When materials take unexpected turns, I problem solve to work with it and not force my original idea. The outcome is more interesting and unpredictable.
All of my ideas about material, form, aesthetic and process are part of this idea I have about interrelationships. It’s more than art, its part of life. Everything is intimately connected, part of a greater whole, yet made of even smaller parts. This is a basic part of life that is fantastic and overwhelming, and my interest in this idea drives my practice as an artist.