Artist: Ashley Shumaker
Exhibition: Storm Studies
Media: Printmaking, ink transfer, monoprint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Ashley is currently pursuing her MFA in Printmaking at California State University, Long Beach. She received her BA in Studio Practice from Portland State University. She is Seattle, Washington native but now resides in Long Beach to finish her Master’s degree. Her current works focus on what is and how that “what” is depicted through art. Her older style consisted of geometric shapes while her newer style is more organic. She explained, the newer style allows the materials to make their mark.
The artist used Japanese papers, printmaking oil based ink, etching ink, stencils and palm bark to create her pieces. Her pieces are mono print because one individual piece can never be replicated. The pieces were made with delicate type paper and uneven strokes.
The torn papers are not even. Rather, they are rigid. The different colors are extenuated by the the layering of the paper. This also creates an overall “worn” look in the pieces. The pieces were created by solar dye which means the ink is dried by the use of the sun. The colors are muted and greyscale. Some pieces were created with multiple colors while others were only created with one ink.
When I asked the artist why the pieces were all greyscale, she explained the meaning behind the series. She works in San Pedro and one day when she was there, there was heavy fog outside. Her other inspiration comes from the recent storms. The artist thought the sky looked more interesting during a storm so she decided to depict it in her work. The colors were chosen based on the time of the day she saw them.
Synthesis / My Experience
I liked this artist’s work because of the choice of colors. They were dark and moody and reminded me of mountains. However, after I spoke to the artists, I like their true meaning. A stormy sky makes them more beautiful because I can see her inspiration in my mind. We all experienced the storms and I can visualize why she chose the colors she did. At first glance, the pieces did seem boring but in closer inspection, they contained more depth. There are layers and layers to the print making that can only be experienced up close.