Barbara Ash is an award-winning artist-sculptor exploring the dynamics of female experience, girlhood and identity through sculpture, and painting, based on a boat next to the Bristol Channel.
Tania Kovats recently chose Barbara as the finalist for the Sculpture category in the Marshwood Arts Prize. She described Barbara’s work as:
“Stunning work, perplexing, awkward, confrontational sculptures to dream about as well as stand beside. This work wrestles with all the right questions a sculpture should”.
Flights Of Fancy
“Flights Of Fancy” is an ongoing series of sculptures using simplified doll-like forms to playfully “pastiche” female mythological icons and ideas of beauty and elegance. The work attempts to deconstruct conventional perceptions of the “female”, in an attempt to dismantle dominant narratives around how women are depicted in art. In this series I choose to work on an intimate scale using a range of mixed-media, non-precious, often textile, especially lace trim, materials, questioning traditional orthodoxies of what pertains to be “serious” sculpture.
Shadows of Frailty
“Shadows of Frailty” looks at our vulnerability in the pandemic; how our feeling of safety is undermined with a common threat to survival. The paintings work in sections or pairings which echo my feeling of the weird compartmentalisation of life since lockdown and the polarisation of the challenges different sectors of the population experience. Those of us on the sidelines have to adjust to restrictions and financial pressures and keep morale, while others suffer and mourn, and then alternately those on the frontline battle with trauma and unsafe conditions, risking their lives.
The mixed media paintings incorporate family photos, Victorian photos, and references from paintings (Frida Kahlo’s “Girl with a death mask). There is an element of unreality, farce, and denial in the scenarios which reflect the way I, along with many others, have had to develop the necessary ability to “switch off” to cope in crazy beleaguered times.
“Soft power”. These prints, somewhat nostalgically, reference a sculpture installation I did in Bangalore looking at issues of female representation and freedom. This ongoing series is variable editions: the same lino-printed image with hand-stamped elements and some slight variations/individualities in each print. I enjoy the fluidity of composing with separate blocks and enjoy the flexibility of having irregularities in the reproductive process; I personally find traditional print orthodoxies too confining for my particular way of working.. I am in the process of devising a way to incorporate this series into a larger mixed media hanging multiple piece, looking at options of printing on fabric or another range of material…
- Royal College of Art, London, M.A (R.C.A) in Sculpture. (Exchange to Lisbon Art College, Portugal)
- Middlesex University, London. B.A (Hons) Degree in Fine Art
- Marshwood Arts Award 2019, awarded the Sculpture prize by Tania Kovats
- British Women Artists' Annual 2015, Judges Favourite; Mary Allen, former Secretary-General, Arts Council England
- Artist Grant for “Dolls” touring exhibition project in India & London, U.K (Arts Council of England)
- Spike Island Associates- Melluish Bursary towards project-development in India (Spike Island Associates)
- Artists Grant awarded for solo show “Playthings” (Arts Council England)
- Year of the Artist Award in collaboration with Belvue Special School, London (Arts Council England)
- Henry Moore Fellowship; based for one year at Canterbury College of Art, 1992, U.K (Henry Moore Foundation)
- Bristol School of Art, Lecturer in Sculpture, SGS College
- NIV Art Centre, Delhi, India – Artist Residency
- Drawing across, internet exchanges with women from the criminal justice system (Arts Council England)
- Big girls blouse, Site-specific Sculpture Residency, Spike Island Art Centre, Bristol
- Bangalore University, India, Lecture/slide-show on practice
- Spike Island, Studio-holder, Selection, education, management committee
- Near & Far, Print exhibition/exchange, Transylvania University, Kentucky, U.S
- Melting Pot, Project management & participation of four woman touring show, Kashi Art Gallery, Kerala, India,
- Sublime Galleria, Bangalore, India, Kombank Art Hall, Belgrade, Serbia, Serbian Embassy, London & the Nehru
- Centre (the Cultural wing of Indian High Commission), London & Gallery Beyond, Bombay
- Virion, Biennial exhibition of public screenings of project-work, Queensland University, Perth
- Sandarbh, Ten day site-specific workshop in rural Rajasthan, India
- International Sculpture Symposium, Hai Phong, Vietnam
Lapidea, International Sculpture Symposium, Germany
- International Ice and Snow Festival, Central House of the Russian Army, Moscow, Russia
- International Sculpture Symposium, sculptures in the collection of the Rabas Museum, Czechoslovakia
- Holding up half the sky, Five Forty Five gallery, Bangalore, India
- Sugar & Spice, Kashi Art Gallery, Kerala, India
- Homogenous (the beauty of bland), J.K.K Art Centre, Jaipur, India
- Dance footloose on the earth, Installation at 1 Shanthi Rd Studio-Gallery, Bangalore, India
- Sculpture in the Workplace -Ten years of sculpture, Canada Square, part of the Canary Wharf Public Art
Programme, London. Curated by Ann Elliott
- Play Things, Installation at Walcott Chapel, Bath, U.K
- Cornucopia, Installation in the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester, U.K
- Teddy bears picnic, Installation at Spike Island, Bristol, U.K
- Set in stone, Henry Moore Fellowship Show, Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury, U.K
- ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London. 3 pieces selected by Kwame Kwei-Armah
- Unexplored territories, artist-led exhibition on Brexit, Cambridge
- Roots & wings, curated by Michaela Wetheral,
- House of Blah Blah, Exchange House, Middlesborough
- Morphologies of the archive, Inaugural exhibition, Museum of Goa, India
- Bells from the deep, Hundred Years Gallery, London
- Journey 5, Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Calcutta, India
- Interstices, Kochi-Muziris Biennale collateral event, Kerala, curated by Neelima Jeychandran, UCLA.
- New York Expo, Sculpture & video presentation of work, New York, U.S. A. curated by Nelleke Nix
- Dolls, Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore, India, curated by Marta Jakimowicz, touring to ArtChennai Art Festival & Rob Dean Art, London (with support from Arts Council, England)
- Innerscapes, installation & drawings at Alliance Francais, Bangalore, India
- Second Bangkok Triennial, selected by Tetsuya Noda, Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre, Bangkok.
- Adam’s Rib, Eve’s Air in her hair, SOHO20, New York, curated by Melina Messina, Brooklyn Museum
- Beauty & the Beast, Stourhead, curated by Peter Dickinson for Hotbath Gallery/the National Trust, England
- Royal British Society of Sculptors Centenary Show, University of Leicester
- Beauty & Corruption, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, Ireland. Selected by EugenieTai, Brooklyn Museum
- Contemporary Art Society Annual Exhibition, Royal Festival Hall, London
- The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London
Sub-tropical, Four Woman Show, Opus 39 Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus
- Interim Show, Henry Moore Gallery, Royal College of Art, London
- Vojanovy Sady, Open Air sculpture Show, Central Prague, Czech Republic
- Work in private & public collections in Europe & Asia.