Ashley Andrews is a contemporary mid-career New York artist. Andrews began developing her intuitive approach to abstract painting at the New York Studio School and the Harlem Studio School in New York. She also attended the legendary Art Students League of New York, where she studied under Larry Poons. Over the years, Andrews has cultivated a distinctively dynamic and emphatic style of gestural abstraction that is instantly recognizable as her own. The late Walter Liedtke, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, has likened Andrews’ confident brushwork to that of Willem de Kooning and compared her mastery of color favorably to Helen Frankenthaler and Henri Matisse. However, Andrews’ canvases are also enlivened by her compositional risk-taking and the unpretentiousness of her “drop cloth aesthetic,” both of which give the work a raw, contemporary freshness that speaks to the energies and attitudes of the present age.
Andrews’ paintings typically begin with words or images culled from everyday life. Anything from a street sign to a taco truck may serve as the initial impetus for a new painting. Andrews allows each word or image to trigger thoughts, associations, feelings, and memories, which she freely translates into lines, shapes, forms, and colors. Because each successive mark generates a cascade of thoughts and feelings, which in turn inspire new layers of mark-making, Andrews describes her artistic process as “action and reaction painting” (a play on the “Action Painting” of Pollock and Kline). Andrews’ paintings are richly layered pentimentos of partly-erased traces. Simultaneously revealing and concealing the art-making process, they serve as evocative meditations on consciousness itself and on the processes of “action and reaction” that animate the human heart and mind.