A self-taught artist, Marc Ashmore counts among his many influences his fascination with foreign language characters, which began when he worked for the Asian society of New York City. The Kanji-inspired brush strokes that dominate the “Blue House” series are completely abstract, with no intentional meaning: a picture of the moment of creation. The calligraphy, which also includes a “dot” as the second element, is executed quickly, but with consideration for form and balance. Finally, the gold rectangle completes the painting by creating an asymmetrical balance and the third, odd-numbered element. Much as the ancient art of Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging does. Balance through asymmetry.
These Asian abstractions are further explored in “Cambodian Dancer,” and are combined with one of Ashmore’s favorite media: Crayola wax. Again, it’s all about speed, as once the melted wax is poured it hardens quickly. “There are hours of preparation of the paper and materials,” Ashmore says. “Throughout this tedious process, I’m planning the details of the painting in my head. Then I’m ready to pour, and it all comes together in a rush. The freedom is exhilarating.”
Everyday objects and images, and even his own work, inspired “78 Abstract Ideas,” which hits the viewer with an almost kaleidoscopic mélange of images of a culture. This notion of cultural iconography is also wryly observed in “Neutrogena”, “Vertigo, Progress in America” and especially “Will the Circle Be Unbroken, The Texaco Tapes,” where a decaying Texaco sign becomes a symbol of bigotry and intolerance. The painting was inspired by a recording of Texaco executives making racist remarks at a board meeting.
The “91 Flavors” series is an attempt to get back to the roots of color and form. Ashmore, having been a professional framer for 23 years has a lot to offer in the way of three dimensional framing, a craft well learned. These pieces reduce a color field to it’s most elemental construction. And the sanded plexi glazing does not ‘remove the viewer’ from it. It begs the viewer to come closer. Or, on the other hand, offers the viewer an ambient glance. A moment of meditation or reflection that most artwork in the western world does not offer.
Marc Ashmore lives in Brooklyn, New York.
ONE MAN SHOW
Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art, New York, 1991
Hygienic Art, New London, CT 2001
CONTINUING EXHIBITION U.S.
Dryden Gallery, New York, NY
Art Connection, Zurich, Switzerland
Neutrogena, Los Angeles, California
Paintings in private collections worldwide including: