La biographie de l'artiste

Ashley was born in Salisbury, England, a few miles from Stonehenge where he spent much of his childhood playing amongst the giant Sarsen stones of this megalithic monument. Stonehenge and indeed the many ancient and sacred sites erected upon the chalk downs of his native Wiltshire were to have an enormous impact on his understanding of the Earth’s energies and the relationship that Man once entertained with his environment. The influence of these monumental
earthworks and stone circles were to orientate his work as an artist towards the primitive forms of the megalith and tumulus, the male and female, in an attempt to express the bipolarity of nature.

He was educated at Millfield School in Somerset near the town of Glastonbury, one of the most sacred sites in Britain – the once Isle of Avalon where the sleeping Arthur lies. The Celtic legends were also to have a profound influence on his work in subsequent years.

La biographie détaillé

La biographie détaillée

ASHLEY Biography

1948

Ashley was born in Salisbury, England, a few miles from Stonehenge where he spent much of his childhood playing amongst the giant Sarsen stones of this megalithic monument. Stonehenge and indeed the many ancient and sacred sites erected upon the chalk downs of his native Wiltshire were to have an enormous impact on his understanding of the Earth’s energies and the relationship that Man once entertained with his environment. The influence of these monumental earthworks and stone circles were to orientate his work as an artist towards the primitive forms of the megalith and tumulus, the male and female, in an attempt to express the bipolarity of nature.

He was educated at Millfield School in Somerset near the town of Glastonbury, one of the most sacred sites in Britain – the once Isle of Avalon where the sleeping Arthur lies. The Celtic legends were also to have a profound influence on his work in subsequent years.

1967

After a year at Salisbury College of Art, at the age of nineteen Ashley settled in Paris intending to finish his studies at the Beaux Arts but carried on the wave of rebellion in the student’s revolution of 1968 that opposed all state institutions, he traded an artistic training at the Beaux Arts for a political education on the streets of Paris. He was quickly absorbed into the intellectual and artistic circles where he met the artists Viera da Silva and Arpad Szenes who were to guide him through his formative years as a painter. Having very little money and unable to afford conventional painting materials, he used sand and earth, acquiring such things as glue and clothes dye from the ironmonger’s shop. His discovery of the Catalan painter Antonio Tàpies encouraged him in his research with alternative materials.

1972

First solo exhibition at the F.I.A.P. in Paris.

1976

He undertook the daily discipline of keeping a diary where words are replaced with pictographic representations of events and encounters and a record of the meteorological conditions of the day.

1979

He created a sanctuary for old shoes, the “Musée de Repos pour Chaussures Fatigués.” This collection of unwanted footwear was an inquiry into the market value attributed to discarded items of a consumer society, once they have been proclaimed Objects of Art. Exhibitions followed at the Galerie Dominique Barreau, Paris, the Galeria Edurne, Pedraza and the Casa de la Cultura de Cuenca in Spain, the Maison de la culture de St. Pierre et Miquelon, the Centre Culturelle de Rennes and a first appearance on French national television.

1981

Ashley moved to Lisbon, Portugal, for a year.

1982

Returning to Paris he created the “Musée Fragmenté,” an ‘inventory of the world,’ dedicated to the familiar history and the secret memory of ordinary things. This museum has grown over the years accumulating hundreds of items from the four corners of the earth.

1984

He produced a series of life-sized “hanged men” assembled from rags and assorted objects for Alain leBoulaire’s Street Theatre in Rennes, Lorient, Charlesvilles-Mezières and for the café-theatre in Paris. He also created, for the occasion, scenery in-situ in collaboration with Isabelle Rabarot.

1985 – 95

Ashley worked as an animator on a number of animated films in Paris and Angoulème.

1986

He tackled the subject of censorship and the freedom of press in his series of “Bound Books, presenting books that, either can not be opened, or rendered unreadable in various ways.

1992

He embarked upon his first conscious application of the “Universal Theme” in the creative process – working in awareness of the natural heritage in the Western Tradition, as portrayed by Robert Graves in his definition of poetry.

The Universal Theme is the in-temporal story of birth, life and death, the cycle of life and the seasons – the resurrection of the waxing year and its struggle with the waning year for the love of the all powerful Threefold Goddess. According to Graves all true poetry issues in one way or another from at least one aspect of this story. To give intent and meaning to his work, from this time onwards, all Ashley’s paintings are created through a conscious application of this theme by means of an ancient text that was said to have been sung by the Chief Bard of the Milesians as he set his foot on Irish soil in 1268 BCE. Ashley inscribes this poetic invocation of nature into the matter of his paintings as a multiple palimpsest, the words of the poem losing their identity with each passage until only their intention remains.

1993

The first solo exhibition of these works was organized by the Passerelle des Arts at the Galerie Didier Champel in Paris entitled “Murs et Murmurs.”

1994

Following the horrors of the Rwanda genocide, he created a “Host of Broken Angels” – a multitude of small fragile mobiles devised from wire and cloth singed with fire.

He published two books of illustrations on Shakespeare and Chaucer (Little Brown Books, Indigo Press).

1995

He was elected a member of the selection committee for the Salon de la Jeune Peinture in Paris.

1996

Solo exhibitions of paintings at the Sorbonne in Paris and Les Usines Bertheau in Ivry sur Seine for which he produced a lithograph with Frank Bordas.

He was commissioned to provide eight paintings for ‘Le Circle des Officiers de Compiègne.’ After much hesitation he decided that this was an opportunity to bring a pacifying element into a military training establishment. Each painting was dedicated to a poet, victim of war and, beneath the pictorial matter of the paintings, he inscribed with tar a large CND sign with the intention that it would gradually work its way to the surface.

He made a pilgrimage to Ireland, the mythical land of his inspiration, visiting the home of his great grandfather in Donegal.

1996-97

Ashley collaborated with Jacques Lélut creating scenery for La Cinquième television channel.

1997

Married Maryam Ramezani.

He had solo exhibitions of paintings at the A.R.I.A.P in Lille and at the Abbaye de Flaran in the Gers region of southern France. He worked on a number of sculptures in plaster- “The Sentinels.”

1998

Birth of his daughter, Sarah.

Solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures at the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke in Paris

1999

Solo exhibition at the Salon d’Automne.

He published 20 years of his diary “Days in a Life,” (Mèzigue Editeur: the smallest publisher in Paris directed by Didier Tronchet).

2000

He had a solo exhibition of paintings at the Galerie Claudine Legrand in Paris.

He was awarded the ‘Grand Prix Paul Ackerman pour la Recherche Plastique’ and Interviewed by José Artur at the Fouquets for his radio show “Pop Club.”

His atelier became the yearly rendezvous pour “Les Afganies,” a circle of writers founded by the writer and poet Anne Sibran.

2002

He had solo exhibitions of paintings at the Galerie Claudine Legrand, the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke in Paris and was invited as the Special Guest at the A.R.A.M.I. in Ermont.

2003

The Passerelle des Arts organized a retrospective of Ashley’s paintings at the Palais Épiscopale in Lectoure in the Gers.

He was invited to participate in the First Beijing Biennale of Contemporary Art in China.

2005

Solo exhibition of paintings at the Galerie Claudine Legrand in Paris.

He was awarded the ‘Grand Prix Renée Béja de la Fondation Taylor.’

2006

Solo exhibition of paintings at the Galerie Klein in Sceaux.

2007

Installation of the ‘Musée Fragmenté’ at the Maison d’Art Bernard Anthonioz in Nogent sur Marne. He was interviewed for the occasion by the French/German television channel, ARTE – “Le Journal de la Culture.”

Solo exhibitions of paintings at the Galerie Quai Est, Ivry sur Seine, at the Salon du Vésinet (Special Guest) and at the Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris.

He became a founding member of the groupe “Paralèlle-s” (a group of 8 abstract artistes).

2008

He exhibited two large paintings in the Institut du Monde Arabe, for the exhibition “Regards Croisés – Paris/Damas,” organized by the Galerie Europia.

2009

He participated in an artist’s symposium in Amman, Jordan, in support of the victims of Israeli aggression in Gaza.

He was presented by the writer and poet Michel Besnier at the circle of poets Arts et Jalons in Saint-Mandé.

“Regards Croisés – Paris/Damas” was shown in the National Museum of Damascus in Syria, under the patronage of the Syrian Ministry of Culture and the Galerie Europia.

He presented six paintings at the Karma Art Gallery in Aleppo.

2010

Solo exhibition of paintings at the Galerie Europia in Paris.

The groupe “Paralèlle-s” was dissolved and Ashley, with 3 of its members (Franck Duminil, Anne Pourny, and Hélène Gauthier) began working on a project, under the guidance of Gilbert Cotteau (architect of social innovations) and Lydia Harambourg (art critic and historian), to nourish a reflection on the meaning of art and the artist’s responsibility to society.

2011

Solo exhibition at the Galerie Claudine Legrand.

He took part in a collective exhibition in solidarity with the Syrian people at the Galerie Europia in Paris.

2012

Group show at the Galerie Europia “Liberté Inspirations de Mahmoud Darwish.”

Lille Internationl Art Faire with the Galerie Claudine Legrand.

“Six artistes in Ivry” – studio visits organized by Christine Bonhomme.

Donation of a large diptych for the future Palestinian Contemporary Art Museum in Jerusalem which, under the patronage of Unesco’s Palestinian ambassadeur Elias Sanbar, was exhibited at the Galerie Julio Gonzalez in Arcueil.

Solo exhibitions at the Galerie l’Art du Temps in the Drome and the Galerie Claudine Legrand in Paris.

Collective exhibition “Les Arts Contre Les Armes” at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, under the supervision of the Ambassador Elias Sanbar.

2013

Solo exhibition at the Galerie Europia, Paris.

2014

Ashley’s painting was amongst those selected from Palestine’s National Museum of Modern Art, to be shown at the UNESCO headquarters in PARIS, to celebrate the National Day of Palestinian Culture, under the presidency of Elias Sanbar.

Solo exhibitions at the Galerie Art2fact, Montfort l’Amaury, the Galerie Bartoli, Marseille, and the Galerie Point Rouge, Grimaud.

 

Expositions principales

Expositions principales

  • UNESCO, PARIS.
  • Galerie Art2fact, MONTFORT L’AMAURY.
  • Galerie Bartoli, MARSEILLE 2014.
  • Galerie Point Rouge, GRIMAUD.
  • Galerie municipale Julio Gonzalez, ARCUEIL.
  • Galerie l’Art du Temps, DROME.
  • Galerie Claudine Legrand, PARIS.
  • Galerie Europia, PARIS.
  • Karma Art Gallery, ALEPPO, SYRIA.
  • National Museum of DAMASCUS, SYRIA.
  • Maison d’Art Bernhard Anthonioz, NOGENT SUR MARNE.
  • Institute du Monde Arabe, PARIS.
  • Engineers Association, AMMAN, JORDANIE.
  • Galerie Vanhoecke, PARIS.
  • Galerie Klein, SCEAUX.
  • A.R.I.A.P., LILLE.
  • L’Abbaye de Flaran, GERS.
  • Auditorium Saint Germain des Prés, PARIS.
  • Galerie Quai Est, IVRY sur SEINE.
  • Grand Palais, PARIS.
  • Palais Episcopale, GERS.
  • Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III, PARIS.
  • Les Usines Bertheau, IVRY s/SEINE.
  • Casa de la Cultura de CUENCA, ESPAGNE.
  • Galerie Edurne, PEDRAZA, ESPAGNE.
  • Passerelle des Arts, PARIS.
  • Passerelle des Arts, ST.CLOUD.

Le sens de l'œuvre

Le sens de l'œuvre

« Arbres, éternels efforts de la terre pour parler au ciel qui l’écoute. »
Rabindranath Tagore

Tous les mythes fondateurs de nos civilisations évoquent l’arbre cosmique. Ses racines rappellent nos origines terrestres alors que le tronc représente la lente élévation vers le ciel où se déploie sa couronne.

Dans cette société désormais déconnectée de l’environnement où l’orgueil démesuré des hommes s’érige en maître et possesseur de la nature, l’arbre devient l’emblème de la détresse de la planète.

Les arbres présentés ici vont à l’encontre de ce malaise en nous rappelant le temps où l’homme vivaient en bon intelligence avec la terre: un temps où, dans son empressement de dialoguer avec elle, l’homme a sollicité l’assistance des arbres qui, par leurs nature propre, relie la terre avec le ciel. A chaque arbre il attribuait des vertus savantes et des pouvoirs magiques et leurs noms sont devenus les lettres d’un alphabet sacré. Ainsi est né l’Alphabet des Arbres, un formidable moyen de transmission du savoir entre initiés et entre les générations – des bosquets devenaient des livres savants, la forêt: une bibliothèque.

Les œuvres présentés ici évoquent un langage qui s’éteint faute d’être entendu: le murmure de la sève qui monte vers « l’écoute du ciel » – l’élévation symbolique de la conscience des Hommes…