Artist: Ashley Shumaker
Exhibition: Storm Studies
Media: Triptych, layered monoprint & cut paper, solar dye, diptych
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Maxine Merlino Gallery
Ashley Shumaker is an graduate student in the School of Art’s MFA Printmaking program. Ashley is originally from Seattle and got her BA from Portland State University in General Studio Art Practices. She chose to continue her studies with printmaking because she really connected with the process of printmaking. She feels it is highly underrepresented and less recognized than other forms of art. Printmaking will carry on into a full time career in Los Angeles area post graduation for Ashley. She is already solidifying that goal by teaching printmaking for CSULB undergraduate students when not producing great prints.
The works presented in this weeks gallery are abstract landscape works on paper using fallen palm bark to print with. The color palette is very subdued, with different hues of cool blues and grays. Having used cool gray and blues, the presence or insinuation of water is detected. The coloring takes on formations of their own. The formations are organic, irregular, and asymmetrical. There is an appropriate amount of positive and negative space of white to color. There is three dimensional texture created from the palm bark that adds depth to each print. The texture is soft, yet impactful. As shown below in Fog on St. Vincent Thomas Bridge,
and up close…
Shumaker was inspired by the recent uncommon weather patterns in the Los Angeles area recently. She was tactical in choosing cool colors that remind one of water and fog to connect the viewer to the environment. Shumaker explains, “Through the color palette, materials, and chosen methods or mark-making, I am trying to create a reaction to the environment around me.” The palm bark used is even bark found fallen after a recent LA storm. She wanted to reflect the quite stillness that is felt after a storm.
I believe Shumaker’s mission was accomplished. When I stepped into the gallery, I could sense the environment that inspired the works. The colors used were so powerful that they drew me into the gallery. My absolute favorite part of living close to the beach are the foggy gray mornings and the calm that is the atmosphere. Its as if the fog blocks sound and all you can feel is the weight of the mist. For as along as I can remember, these types of mornings have given me the greatest sense of ease. For some reason, as I walked through Storm Studies, I sensed that Shumaker felt this same ease that I do.