Published January 13, 2017
With pop-culture references and bright colors, large-scale inflatable sculptures will enliven the UB Anderson Gallery during “Claire Ashley: Loathsome Beauty Loaded Body,” an exhibition on view in the gallery from Feb. 4 through April 2.
The artist will attend the opening reception for the exhibition, which will take place from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 4 in the gallery at One Martha Jackson Place off Englewood Avenue near the South Campus.
Ashley’s large-scale inflatable works are physical references to the body, as well as organic architectural forms. They situate and change themselves to fit new environments, and are vibrant and emotive — twisting, pouting and slumping into space. These works breathe, and viewers likely will resist the urge to act playfully around them as they reference art in a more undisciplined state.
The artist animates the amorphous form on the surfaces of the sculptures with painterly abstraction. Her mark-making techniques vary throughout the exhibition — with some works graphically appliqued with bright colors and shapes, while others have more subtle color palettes that apply a wash to the PVC-coated canvas.
Ashley uses humor, acidic color, a sometimes-obnoxious scale and pop-culture references to challenge the art historical precedent and current art-world power dynamics. The title of the exhibition — “Loathsome Beauty Loaded Body” — and the works themselves are both imposing and inviting, playing with the opposing power dynamics that dominate society.
These buoyant forms will be installed with works from the UB Art Galleries’ permanent collection, allowing for new connections to form. The UB artworks were selected for various reasons, including artistic influence, formal relationships, biographical connections and inspirational connections.
Artists featured in this exhibition are Karel Appel, Kenneth Armitage, John Cage, Charles Clough, Adele Cohen, Tom Dean, Hisao Domoto, Peter Forakis, Sam Francis, Libby Hague, Howard Hodgkin, Jean Maddison, Joan Mitchell, Eduardo Paolozzi, Diego Rivera, Frank Roth, William Scott, Antoni Tapies, Anna Walinska and Robert Whitman.
Ashley also will have work on display in the atrium of the Center for the Arts on the North Campus through May 13.
Admission is free to the UB Anderson Gallery. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.