"minerals, vitamins, irons and the niacin..." (1)
Originally from Liverpool, U.K. Ashwan completed a Masters in Fine Arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where his tutors included the Pulitzer prize winner Jerry Saltz and alumni such as Jeff Koons, Georgia O´Keefe and Claes Oldenburg.
The decision to move to the U.S. was as much a pilgrimage as an opportunity to study at one of the world´s finest art institutions. Describing his work as A visual Tao of the Boom Bap sound, it is apparent where the artist´s influences lie.
Ashwan creates objects: physical, solid with a strong sense of presence. He often uses discarded cardboard boxes and transforms them in to large scale mixed media pieces, ultimately encased in resin. The resulting metamorphosis creates a simultaneous sense of post-industrial urban degeneration and a jewel like tribute to the rebel subcultures that added colour to these environments.
The desire to be heard and to make a mark on a society that it seems is no longer listening, Ashwan's art harks back to a period where the urban breakdown resulted in an explosion of colour amid growing social divides. Bastard remnants of a Reaganomic era, scribed through our cities against the will of many,only now to be commodified and celebrated by the cultural elite. In the works of Ashwan, the urban environment itself is equally enjoyed, with rusted surfaces, oxidised copper and a crumbling sense of physicality and passing time.
Hovering between 2 and 3 dimensionality, the works conjure images of a broken Berlin Wall or a section of 1970's Bronx left untouched for decades. Planes are fractured, replicating an urban dynamic and texts used in a repetitive, rhythmic way that is not always easily decipherable, but instead communicates the essential energy of a message.
To Ashwan, his art somehow encompasses and represents sound, be it a snapshot of music or an ambient noise. The texts often quote or paraphrase lyrics. He attempts to capture and highlight that trait of humanity that hungers to source beauty from degeneration and thirsts to create explosions of creativity from areas that have been so abandoned and abused as to appear cultural desserts.
The artist is referencing, remixing and celebrating a bygone era with sincerity and nostalgia...join him, as he takes it back.
(1) O.C. Times Up - 1994, Wild Pitch Records
1999 MFA. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. USA.
1994 BA(hons) The University of Northumbria. Newcastle. UK.
DOGGED - group show. BienCuadrado. Barcelona
Sprayed - 3 person show with Katharina Grosse and Nico Sawatzki. Galerie Lesmeister, Regensburg.
Urvanity, 2020 Art Fair - Group show. BienCuadrado, Madrid
SAME SAME but Different - Group show including artists Robert Longo, A.R. Penck, and Alex Katz. Galerie Lesmeister, Regensburg.
Sample Culture - Solo show. BienCuadrado, Barcelona.
Alles Anders - Group show. Galerie Lesmeister, Regensburg
Art Bodensee - Group show. Galerie Lesmeister, Regensburg.
I Like The Way You Talk - Solo show, Galerie Lesmeister, Regensburg
Art Milan 2018 - 3Punts Galeria
Used To Do It Out In The Park- Solo show, BienCuadrado. Barcelona.
SWAB Art Fair. 3 Punts Galeria, Barcelona.
Bites of Future - group show. 3 Punts Galeria. Barcelona.
Palimpsest - solo show, Zap, Liverpool.
Abnormal Activity - group show, 3 Punts Galeria, Barcelona.
Art Karlsruhe 2014 - 3 Punts Galeria, Karlsruhe.
Art Madrid - 3 Punts Galeria, Madrid.
Casa Arte - 3 Punts Galeria, Madrid.
A Rich Stash, A Nova Incredible - Group show. Believe Inn, Chicago.
Untitled - Group Show. Dukes Oak, Cheshire. UK.
SWAB art fair, Barcelona, Spain.
Show Me The Monet - Royal College of Art, London. UK.
Ashwan - Airt gallery, Barcelona. Solo show.
Instinctive Travels - Dukes Oak, Cheshire. UK. Solo show.
London Elephant Parade, London. UK.
Purple Pond - Dukes Oak, Cheshire. UK. Solo show.
Loop Festival, Barcelona. Video Art.
The Rhythms Of Life - Xerxes Fine Art, London. 2 man show with Michael Benisty, curated by Pearl Lam
Paths of Rhythm - Firbob and Peacock, Knutsford. UK. Solo show.
Videoakt, - Berlín, Germany. video festival.