Ashley L. Schick makes works on paper and artists’ books. The daughter of a biology teacher and an electrical engineer, her work mixes the biological and the industrial. Read on below for more information about each series.
Sea and Sky
These collagraphs recall the ever-changing rocky landscape around Ballycastle, Co. Mayo, in northwest Ireland. The majority of the prints in this series were created at the studios of the Ballinglen Arts Foundation.
Field Studies is the result of a 10 year studio practice of thinking in colors and layers. I create each piece with hand-cut paper. The magazine paper patterns, textures, and organic forms inspire the compositions. Each piece is a study of a particular place, time, and experience. It's like walking through a forest. The path might stay the same, but the light, wildlife, weather, season, and inner monologue are different each time. The pieces are a recording of my "forest walks," going through the (real or imaginary) brush, listening to the bird calls. Running into spider webs. Seeing mammals gnawing in trees. I create each composition collaborating with the piece itself. Push/pull, cut/collide, rearrange/repeat until the composition snaps into focus.
A Small Rustle
A collection of cut paper pieces and watercolor drawings. Vivid colors depict deer captured in uneasy and perilous positions. The cut-paper backgrounds, white-on-white scenes of cut paper industry or woods, are distant and detached landscapes, like frozen memories or dreams. The details of the backgrounds, along with elements of the deerforms themselves, are perceptible through the shadows cast by their layered bas-relief construction.
These deer are leaping, staggering, trying, falling—acting out expressions of danger and anxiety. They are an inside space, a psychological landscape. Transformations and experimentations on such spindly legs. They are fantastical organic tottering forms. A struggle, a balance, a collection of parts.
Of what is this house composed, if not of the sun?
A small rustle in the treetops: the deer pause to look up at the (wandering) stars.
In a time of transition, feeling on a different world, I create a poetic ode to our celestial neighbors. New astronomic knowledge swirls around us this year. New Horizons flew past dwarf planet Pluto. Dawn circles Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. The Kepler Space Telescope sighted Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. Voyager continues its travels along the edge of interstellar space. These nine pieces are inspired by these historically captivating objects in our solar system, glimmering in the sky, ruled by mythological figures or noxious gasses. Once, ancient gods—some Titans—guarded and governed the skies. Now scientists seek out knowledge in tremendous amounts of data, studying the fine details in images and sensor readings. Each portrait reflects the true-to-life colors of the subject planet. The pieces gesture towards the scale and difference between the planets. The melodies of the cosmic spheres play on these paper surfaces.
On the Farm
The On the Farm series studies the varied natural textures and decaying industrial structures at the Goat Farm Arts Center, an artist community and former machinery mill in the heart of Atlanta. While Survey Shadows centers on the relationships between people and communities, On the Farm shifts focus to the buildings and creatures that surround me at my studio. All pieces are composed of cut paper. The Survey Shadows series looks at infrastructure as a metaphor for our social and psychological connections. Sometimes playful, sometimes serious, these portraits translate actual objects into compositions that remind me of particular social or emotional situations. The configurations I draw from, based on municipal equipment originally installed haphazardly, have individual elements – wires, handles, boxes, tags, and other bits –working together as a system, holding and maintaining a larger whole, toggling between their role as an individual and as a group.
Selected Artist Books
The power lines here are about traveling distance. The lone posts attached to other things, unseen, act as archaic physical markers of connection over great distances. They are a reassuring icon from the great, traveling, road-based subconscious. They are familiar, overlooked, distant, displaced. Their repetition and variation make a typology, forgetting locations and distances between cities. The telephone poles and stretching wires are locationless portraits. The beauty from the formal interaction of strung and coiled wires comes from practical and off-handed productions. The compositions examine proportions of distance, of solitude. A collection of etchings (some with chine-colle elements).
What experiences do we remember to tell and re-tell again? Retelling's artists’ books, drawings, and prints are maps of my family’s stories. Made not simply to keep a record, these pieces are examining systems of communication and elements of connection. I choose to map these particular experiences as the key fragments that illuminate my interconnected history as they reconfirm my identity. In the process of making these pieces, I am examining how we remember these stories, the ways that events are kept or rewritten over time.
These objects trace the invisible act of reading, a relic of the otherwise invisible process