Rachel Bride Ashton – Artists Statement
We do ‘not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious’ (Carl Jung)
I use painting, printing, poetry, music, video, sound and performance to explore betrayal, the shadow archetype and projection as understood in Jungian psychology while also trying to keep my holistic and environmental concerns in mind. I scrutinize our shallow understanding of sexual desire and betrayal within a western, monogamous cultural framework and the surrounding shame that prohibits open discussion of this embarrassing subject, by visualising the individual stripped down to their body parts in a state of arousal. As a species forever in our heads, I try to use some humour to depict us, in all our raw and exposed animal glory and to encourage questioning of our current sexual script.
In my landscape paintings, I explore themes of solitude, escape, survival and childhood games of losing oneself in wild and free places and worlds. Focusing on the overlooked areas of the North East of Scotland and its flora, I play with the effects of light and expose its transcendental colours.
I am endlessly fascinated by the shapes and patterns that are created when the straight lines of farmland cut into fluid undulating surfaces, our continual attempts to manage and make order of the chaotic wilderness and the wild beauty that always creeps back in around the edges. I try to depict the terrifying loneliness of remote abandoned and derelict buildings and natures swift reclamation of our marks on the land.
Pictures to illustrate my Reflective Research Journal posts can be seen here:
This is a link to the off-grid project on the land where I live and have lived since 2007. Unfortunately on the 5th of December 2016 it suffered a devastating fire which destroyed nearly all our buildings. But, following immense support from family, friends and local community, we are back on the land, starting over, with eleven years of experience and lessons learned. You can follow the progress here.