Keith Ashleyʼs works are abstract by nature, yet one of the works on display has been referred to by the artist as being ʻtoo representationalʼ.
The reference may seem obscure at first glance, but it is important to understand that the painting is permeated with snippets of a decisive experience he once had when going for a walk in the mountains.
The walk eventually led him to a gaping abyss, an edge, that he was afraid of approaching due to suffering from vertigo.
Nevertheless, he could not resist. Despite his fears of falling or even jumping, he decided to crawl instead in order to slowly advance towards the edge and look.
Translating this anecdote into his work may seem tenuous, yet it is indicative of his urge to confront and explore his fears and struggles, eventually finding a way to overcome these and proceed.
And, sometimes, the result is an uneasy presence in the work; something that paradoxically must remain hidden, to be experienced.
“The evidence of my struggle to be here and now, in the painting, making a statement which expresses my unconscious inner thoughts and conflicts, that which is left behind when worldly preoccupations are forgotten. Colour is always integral to this pure state. My paintings are what remains.”
Jonathan Schmidt-Ott Gallerist and Curator.
Keith also owns and runs The Chocolate Factory - a collection of artistsʼ studios in Stoke Newington London N16.