Acrylic by Chantal Ashwell
Out of the Wasteland
My work is characterised by colour-rich pieces which are a fusion of imagination and feeling with a compulsion to express the deeply instinctive and spontaneous perception of a subject.
I'm fascinated by the might and influence of essential elements in the natural world and how we respond. If I look at my artistic journey really the seed was sown on reading a line in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland; "I will show you fear in a handful of dust". That really struck me when first reading the poem 40 years' ago as a teenager; immediately I felt - with something of a chill - that we are all just passing through and in the magnitude of existence we are rather insignificant flickers.
Water, earth, wood, air and fire are bountiful sources of material for my paintings - and Torbay has a staggering abundance of features - but an intrigue in existence within and harmony with nature lead to an unplanned journey of thought through the process. If I couldn't explore in a laterally open way when working I would feel devoid of creativity and joy. Working intuitively and importantly not painting to other peoples' expectations remain essential to my commitment; the energy pulses of rhythm, cycle, repetition and form play out on the canvas in various ways. Over the years I have built up a portfolio of distinctive textural finishes and illusions particular to my work; some pieces are textile-like in appearance.
It is my belief that the imagination has no boundaries and that depth of emotion revealed through art may be a natural outcome.
Through Artizan Gallery I am a UNESCO Global Geopark Ambassador Artist for the English Riviera.
Devon Open Studios
From apparently arid and inhospitable rocky terrain vegetation will emerge through cracks, nourished by the tiniest amount of water.
Acrylic on Canvas