Doug Ashford, Abstraction as Empathy, 19 January-3 March 2013

Doug Ashford, Abstraction as Empathy

Wilfried Lentz is very proud to host artist, writer and teacher, Doug Ashford (lives and works in New York) for his first solo show in Europe,

Abstraction as Empathy

The opening is Saturday, January 19th, 4pm-7pm.

The show runs till Saturday, March 2nd, 2013.
For information and visuals, please contact the gallery: or + 31 (0)10 4126459.

Click here to download press release as pdf

At the core of the show’s presentation is the work Many Readers to One Event, a series of nearly thirty small paintings and photographs, which were first shown last year at dOCUMENTA (13). These works will be reactivated with a special architecture, placed in a central position in the gallery space as one continuous spatial installation. This installation will be shown in a retrospective environment that will also be presenting some of his earlier abstract paintings.

Coming from a background of a socially engaged art practice in the eighties and nineties – being a member of the New York based artist collective Group Material (1982-1996) – Ashford took up painting in earnest after the collective ended. In the earlier public projects of Group Material, the art exhibition form itself was challenged for its social and participatory purposes, thereby contesting the terrain of political life. Ashford now focuses on the consoling role of the artwork itself by depicting foremost tragic events, as well as political, through abstract painting.

The forms that manifest themselves in his working process start, for example, with newspaper clippings of political demonstrations or the event of a murder, and they are chosen for both their factual reportage and their imagistic drift. The protagonists in these moments of strong social upheaval also have an aesthetic stance while they are responding to an emergency; moving as if empathy has taken them into a momentum that overcomes catastrophe. These scenes of stilled force are restaged or cropped in small photographs, shown with another – meta – world of artistic reading, a series of laborious abstract paintings, a cathexis of affect and love.

Doug Ashford is, besides his work as an artist, Associate Professor at The Cooper Union in New York City (USA) where he has taught three-dimensional design, sculpture, public art and theory seminars since 1989. He has lectured internationally at various institutes and schools, and organized the book Who Cares (Creative Time, 2006), on the relationship between public expression, beauty, and ethics.

Doug Ashford’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. In 2012 his work was shown at dOCUMENTA(13), as well as Abstract Possible: The Stockholm Synergies, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (SE) and Ruptures: Forms of Public Address, 41 Cooper Gallery, New York (US). Other recent shows include: Sharjah Biennial 10, Sharjah (AE), Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (MX) in 2011, and Malmö Konsthall in 2010.

Doug Ashford, Many Readers of One Event
Doug Ashford, Abstraction as Empathy, 19 January-3 March 2013
Abstraction as Empathy, 19 January-3 March
Abstraction as Empathy, 19 January-3 March