The goal of this series of blog posts is to showcase artists whose work I admire and am inspired by, to provide a place to collect my thoughts on their work, and to develop questions for future thought and action for the week ahead. By no means do I intend this to be a critical review of an artist’s work, rather I wish to convey my thoughts, however rambling and incoherent, in an unstructured and free dialogue.
I’m particularly drawn to Eve Aschheim’s drawings and paintings because they omit a lightness and ethereal quality to space. In her paintings from 2002, she applies a field of gray colored short tick-marks in a space filled with white. The tick marks have a directionality and a range of value creating a space with both depth and movement. They resemble vectors captured in mid-air–falling, levitating, rising–like thistle seeds blown into the wind.
Look closer, and the white begins to resemble a translucent film or cloud concealing and revealing the vectors. One wonders if it is not the color of the vectors that change captured by a stable white ground, but rather the ground itself envelops the field of vectors like a fog filling the space with nothing but mist and air. In turn, the space does not appear to be in stasis at all, but rather the opposite, where both figure and ground interact. I enjoy those moments in her paintings where the ground emerges to the fore bisecting a hard line in two or becoming a figure itself set against a field of figures asserting its presence.
Following this, the second quality of her work I admire is the juxtaposition between hard-edged vs. hand-drawn linework. Sometimes, her lines appear to be subconscious scrawls on a surface and other times they are deliberate cuts through space. She layers her paintings with a variation of linework: drawing, redrawing, and erasing lines. One see her moves–those made, unmade, and remade–and as a result senses her hand and thought process which seems open and free throughout. Seldom does a line cross the page entirely unscathed and untouched, rather more often they stop mid-flight, change direction, and/or are challenged by other lines.
I also appreciate the scale of her paintings which are compact and could be held within your hands. They are jewel-like to me because the energy of her paintings is contained, reduced, and distilled into something so small one becomes aware of even the faintest line and how it affects the entire canvas. The smaller scale of her paintings serves to heighten the visual action contained within the frame.
All Images courtesy Lori Bookstein Fine Art
For more info on Eve Aschheim, check out the following links: