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Art & Life with Ashlynn Browning

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashlynn Browning.

Ashlynn, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a North Carolina native and live in Raleigh, NC currently. I hold onto my Atlanta connections however. My parents lived there till I was born, and my work is represented by Whitespace in Atlanta, a wonderful renovated carriage house gallery in Inman Park.

Ever since childhood I knew I wanted to be an artist, but my earliest plans were to be a children’s book illustrator. That changed in college when I discovered oil painting and the work of Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston, among many others. That’s when I knew I would be an abstract painter, and I never looked back. Over the years, through graduate school and beyond, my mediums have changed from printmaking (etching and monoprints), to drawing, collage and works on paper, and from using acrylic to finally, a circular journey back to oil paint. My forms have fluctuated as well, going from organic and gestural to more geometric over the years. I expect that more spontaneous mark marking likely will find its way back in at some point.

I have two young sons now, so juggling my art with motherhood is an interesting challenge. Surprisingly though, I find myself more driven and more prolific since having children. There’s just no time to mess around in the studio, so some good risks are taken!

Can you give our readers some background on your art?

I work in oil paint on wood panels. The paintings contain a hybrid of geometric and organic forms created through an intuitive painting process. The work is multi-layered, both in process and concept.

In each painting, there is usually an inner core or soul that is being encased and protected by an outer shell-like geometric structure.  They are abstract paintings seemingly, but I think of the forms in my paintings as stand ins for figures, and possibly even self-portraits in a sense, each showing a different side of myself. The forms all have personalities and implied narratives. Some are hunched over, seemingly contemplative, hesitant, and timid. Others have postures and colors that evoke boldness and tenacity.

There is never a plan or study for a piece in the beginning. Intuitive decision making is the main drive for my work and the only way I get a piece that is successful to my eye. So, for me, it’s pretty much the classic Abstract Expressionist approach: “Make a mark, respond to that mark, etc.” I would say at least seventy-five percent of each painting is made by trusting my gut and putting down colors and marks that I’m driven to choose, even when logically they don’t make much sense to me at the time. The other twenty-five percent of the process is where I will let a layer sit for a while and just look at it over a period of days, plotting my next move. That calculated choice may or may not remain in the final piece, but it is still an important part of the process. So, in the end, the painting contains a layered accumulation of thoughtful decisions and purely felt acts. That seems to be the process that resonates the most deeply for me.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
In many ways I think conditions are better now because the internet and social media have opened up things for artists and let them show their work and see other great art from around the world at the tip of their fingers. Of course, that’s not the same as seeing work in person, but it’s still a huge benefit. Galleries work hard on the part of artists, but it’s still helpful to be able to promote ourselves too and have our work seen by a larger audience via the internet.

Cities like Atlanta I think do a good job of promoting the arts with publications like Art Papers and Burnaway. Art walks, gallery openings, workshops and talks…all these helps support artists and bring attention to their work. At the end of the day though, no matter the larger conditions, artists persevere when they keep working, take risks, and grow over the years, without influence from market trends or the opinions of others. Staying true to the work is the most important condition.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I show in Atlanta with Whitespace and in Columbia SC with if ART Gallery. I have an upcoming solo exhibition in November 2018 at the Allenton Gallery in Durham, NC.

My website is ashlynnbrowning.com. The best place to see up to date, current work is on Instagram. There you can see the newest paintings, works in progress, and studio views. @browning19.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ashlynn Browning

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