ASHLEY ELIZA WILLIAMS | The Department of Future Ecology

This February, K Contemporary is excited to announce the solo exhibition of new work by Ashley Eliza Williams, titled “The Department of Future Ecology”.


Williams calls this newest body of work an “abstract natural history archive of the future”. Upon arrival, visitors will encounter paintings of mysterious landscapes, an imaginary future alphabet, and a collection of obscure artifacts. The paintings describe a tactile world that is familiar and unfamiliar: with geological forms, a barren field of pools, and a forest containing a nutrient-rich mist. During the reception, a “dig site” will occupy one of the pedestals with artifacts and geological forms containing bits of plastic and Anthropocene debris that audience is invited to excavate and investigate.


At the center of the space is a painting of a strange, sensitive fur-covered organism flanked by two pedestals containing remnants of a sculptural alphabet. Meandering through the exhibit, organic and synthetic colors and elements intermingle, revealing a fragmented story about environmental impact. A narrative about resource extraction (in a form of a nutrient-dense mist that fuels the organism and is harvested by others) weaves through the work. This is a world without modern humans, yet it is haunted by former human presence.


In creating the text pieces, Williams asks: “Is it possible to imagine a future language that acknowledges the history of the animals, plants, rocks, mists, dreams and human beings that inhabited the land we occupy? A language that functions like rock strata or a tree cross-section? A language that acknowledges deep time?”


This work was influenced by a series of trips to the Pacific Northwest Rainforests and research at The Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard.




Ashley Eliza Williams is an interdisciplinary artist exploring new ways of interacting with nature and with each other. In 2017, she moved from Colorado to Massachusetts as a MASS MoCA North Adams Project participant and she has recently attended artist residencies in The United States, Germany, China, and Thailand. In 2013, she received her MFA from The University of Colorado and she received her BA from The University of Virginia in 2009, where she was also an Aunspaugh Fellow. She is a member of Hyperlink Collective based in Denver and The Sprechgesang Institute Collective, based in NYC. Williams’ work is exhibited nationally and internationally. She lives in North Adams MA and teaches at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.