Ashley Stull Meyers

From this Author

The Great Debate About Art at Upfor

Ben Buswell. ABRACADABRA (Perish Like the Word), 2015; graphite and non-photo blue; 38 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Upfor. Photo: Mario Gallucci.

“Art” is a contentious word. Endless positing over any succinct, defining properties has spawned countless op-eds, theses, and textbooks. The topic is comparable to that of discussing religion in mixed company—differences of opinion have more than once drawn blood. The Great Debate About Art, currently on view at Upfor in Portland, Oregon, is a small group exhibition contextually centered on Roy Harris’ 2010 book of[…..]

Interview with Erica Prince

Some Sense of Comfort With Some Sense of Confusio​​n​, 2014​, (performance still). Courtesy of AUX Performance Space, Philadelphia​.​

Canadian artist Erica Prince would not appreciate the Mattel playhouse I had as a kid, filled with floral furniture, plastic appliances, and female dolls to ensure that the household was running smoothly. Prince’s version, recently on view in Philadelphia, is my playhouse’s conceptual opposite—and that’s a wonderful thing. Prince is more inspired by science fiction than by domesticity. Her sculptures, installations, and drawings have a[…..]

Interview with Ian McMahon

Cascade, 2014; Freestanding cast plaster, used pallets; 40’ x 6’ x 21’ (each side).

Artist Ian McMahon is a material purist who makes monumental sculptures from raw clay and industrial plaster. The resulting works are contradictory in impression—domineering but fragile, familiar while avoiding redundancy. In his most recent exhibitions he has introduced an element of controversy for anyone who has ever engaged with the tedium of delicate materials—the work is made to be broken. Ashley Stull Meyers: Let’s talk[…..]

Interview with Shanti Grumbine

Shanti Grumbine. Persephone, April 2, 2013, A1, 2015; basswood dowels, anodized die, pigment print, mirrors, wood panel, 22 x 29 in.

Art in time of conflict is not for the faint of conviction. For its makers, it can be leveraged for communication, catharsis, or an attempt at clarity; Brooklyn-based artist Shanti Grumbine engages with all three. She cuts found text and images in reconsideration of the boundaries between absence and presence—between profane and sacred content. Her drawings, prints, and collages make hay of what remains from[…..]

Bruce Conner: Somebody Else’s Prints at the Ulrich Museum of Art

Bruce Conner, Bombhead, 2002. Pigmented inkjet print on paper, 32 x 25 in. Courtesy Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA. © 2014 Conner Family Trust, San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Sympathetic magic—the use of a surrogate object to magically influence the person or circumstance it represents—has long been one of my favorite subjects. The Ulrich Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Bruce Conner: Somebody Else’s Prints, is an impressive collection of prints, etchings, and lithographs, a number of which Conner attributed to pseudonyms. The show inventively chronicles the artist’s use of surrogate figures for a variety of[…..]

Interview with Josh Short

Josh Short. Going to Church, 2014; installation view, The Warehouse, Salina Art Center. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: April Engstrom.

I’ve recently been introduced to the term prairie madness. It’s fictional—not founded in medicine—but it captured my imagination all the same. Artist Josh Short laughed as he explained it to me: The gist is that one can be driven to psychosis by the far-flung expansiveness of the Midwest. Characters in novels have been driven to tears by the isolation, the seemingly never-ending wind, and their[…..]

Lifelike at the Blanton Museum of Art

Jonathan Seliger. Heartland, 2010; Enamel on bronze; 103 x 29 x 29 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY

An unattended bag of garbage amid a pristine installation is quite a thing to behold. At first instinct, one can barely believe the carelessness. Perhaps, in the haste of opening night, preparatory staff neglected it—or, in the case of Lifelike at the Blanton Museum of Art, one should reprimand oneself for failure to look closely enough. Titled Hefty 2-Ply (1979–81), the garbage bag is a flawlessly[…..]