Ashley West was born in 1953 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, and graduated in Fine Art at Leicester Polytechnic in 1978. In 2007 he was awarded an MA with Distinction from Wimbledon School of Art. He lives and has a studio in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. Early work was influenced by the automatism and lyricism of painters such as Alan Davie, Graham Sutherland and Peter Lanyon, while at Leicester he became interested in the colour fields and grids employed in the more constructivist and minimalist approaches of Mondrian, Barnett Newman and Agnes Martin. Between 1995 and 2005 his work explored the relationship between these two processes - the automatic, and the measured, and he acknowledges Richard Diebenkorn as the most profound influence on his work during this period. Recent work reflects an interest non-rectilinear compositions incorporating curvilinear and elliptical forms.
I am interested in the intuitive process by which a ‘world’ emerges, through interaction with the materials I use and the visual language of abstraction. For me this process requires an openness, a willingness to take risks, and a critical faculty which I don’t assume are given. They emerge through the work, in the same way that significant relationships emerge in the paintings, through trial and error, discovery, serious ‘play’, and a search for directness and a kind of truth or integrity. Forms or configurations are fairly unequivocal, like affirmations, but they are only possible through their wider relationship with neighbouring forms and the composition as a whole, which can be tentative, a struggle even. The work is difficult and so are the paintings, yet the direction is one of letting go, and allowing something unexpected to take place. Generally, I leave a piece when the elements are related in such a way as to create a dynamic state of tension or suspense, out of which one or more configurations call for resolution. While this state is something arrived at, I prefer that the piece remains open and in movement, suggesting multiple readings and inviting the active engagement of the observer. This moment always comes as a surprise. In my work there is usually a dialogue and tension between the flat surface and the illusion of depth, between what is inside and what is beyond the edge.
With regard to references beyond painting, I am particularly interested in the movement that takes place within and across boundaries in Persian miniatures, oriental rugs, and religious icons, and the interplay across lines of demarcation in field sports. More recently a curiosity in the movement of the camera (as point of observation) in the stadium event, Formula 1 or the orbiting satellite has led to exploration of alternative forms of enclosure to the rectangle, such as the circle, ellipse or more complex perimeters. The emergence and shift of motifs in African and Middle-eastern music, free-form jazz, and the work of such composers as Messian, Tavener and Reich are an inspiration. Ideas concerning the relationship between the spiritual and material worlds, and particularly those of G.I.Gurdjieff, have been of long-standing interest.
|1953||Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire.|
|1972-73||Completed a Foundation Course in Art at Kettering Technical College.|
|1975-78||Studied Fine Art at Leicester Polytechnic.|
|1987||Moved to Hertfordshire.|
|1987-88||Completed a Post Graduate Course in Education.|
Began teaching at Queen Elizabeth’s Boys’ School in Barnet.
Became Head of Art and Design.
|1995||Artist in Residence, Slade School of Fine Art Summer School.|
|2005-07||MA with Distinction in Fine Art (Painting) at Wimbledon School of Art.|
ONE MAN EXHIBITIONS
|1979||Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering|
|1994||Queen Elizabeth's Gallery, Barnet|
|1994||St Austell Arts Centre|
|1995||Slade School of Fine Art, London|
|1995||Salthouse Gallery, St Ives|
|1996||Malvern Arts Workshop
|1997||Queen Elizabeth's Gallery, Barnet|
|1998||Leonardo Centre, Uppingham School|
|2003||Salthouse Gallery, St Ives|
|2009||Queen Elizabeth's Gallery, Barnet|
TWO PERSON SHOWS
|2010||Gallery 242, Shoreditch, London (with Stephen Buckeridge)|
|1978||Leicester Polytechnic Degree show|
|1990||Jersey Arts Centre Open|
Plumbline Gallery, St.Ives
Gallery@One0Two, Shoreditch, London (three person show)
'Showcase 2005', Gallery@One0Two, Shoreditch, London
Hunting Art Prize Exhibition, Royal College of Art
'Working Drawings' Centre for Research into Drawing, Wimbledon School of Art
'Base', Trinity Buoy Wharf, Docklands, London
Deutsche Postbank, London
'Currents', Trinity Buoy Wharf, Docklands, London
Creekside Open, APT Gallery, London
Sherborne Open, Dorset
Wimbledon College of Art, MA Show