ARTIST-A-DAY BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V Discovering w/ artist, Ashley Cecil
"There is no question, I am inspired by the natural world. The niche I've really dug into though is comparing our understanding of nature through two different lenses: science and feminism." Ashley Cecil
How does your work interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that Explores Story, Symbolism, and Beyond”?
My work is deeply rooted in symbolism, specifically of symbols representing feminine power and of female characters representing Mother Nature (think pomegranates and Madonna figures). It's part of my process of visually retelling historical stories by using repeating patterns of cultural and religious symbols of fertility layered with female figures.
What draws you to the medium you chose? And tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away).
Oil paint has always been a mainstay in my work because I love the richness and versatility of the medium and the vast possibilities within 2D rendering. The patterns in my work (e.g. the pattern in the marionette's skirt of Comply) are largely done with a traditional block printing process - I carve and print a repeating motif to create a wallpaper or textile effect. This component of my work was inspired by a stint living in London where my love for the Arts and Crafts movement was further cemented. The notion of making art accessible in the everyday through patterns for home decor, building facades, etc. was appealing and worth exploring in my work. It's also fun to be tongue-and-cheek with this more "domestic" and "femimine" art form by using it to make commentary about feminism and environmental changes.
Who inspires you? And What do you do to get inspired? There is no question, I am inspired by the natural world. The niche I've really dug into though is comparing our understanding of nature through two different lenses: science and feminism. I've spent countless hours in musty museum collections and science labs learning about our measured impact on nature. I've also poured over books of myths and folklore with women at the center of creation stories and metaphorical tales of women as Mother Nature. When I'm not painting, you can be certain I've got my nose in a book or research paper.