Ashley Eliza Williams’ paintings shift between representation and abstraction, zooming in and out of extreme focus. She is interested in what she calls “enclosed environments” or “shy ecosystems” — landscapes that exist within a contained area, often on or within a single object like a rock or cloud. These landscapes are painted with extreme detail and isolated in space. The scale is often ambiguous.
Her newest work is a series of “communication attempts.” These painting-sculpture relationships grew from a fascination with non-human language, exchanges between living and non-living things, historical museum displays, and dioramas. The objects in this exhibition include sculptures of mysterious fragments, fossils, and other obscure artifacts. The paintings depict geological forms, clouds, and mists — a tactile world that is familiar and unfamiliar. Do the sculptures describe the paintings, or do they inhabit them? Are signals being exchanged? Can they be detected? This project is part of an ongoing exploration into alternative ways of interacting with nature and with each other.
Williams received her BA in art history and studio art from The University of Virginia in 2009 and her MFA from The University of Colorado in 2013. She has attended artist residencies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. She teaches at The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and lives in North Adams, Massachusetts.