Ashley Collins, American (b. 1967)
From sleeping on concrete studio floors to breaking price point records for living female contemporary painters, Collins has produced a diverse composition of works, many of which involve contemporary and abstract depictions of the horse. Collins' works can be found in such collections as the Redford Collection, the Horchow Collection, the Wynn Collection, the Rosenthal Collection, corporate collections as varied as the CAA and 20th Century Fox to the wineries of Trinchero, Harris, Gott and Corliss, as well as in collections in Brunei, Australia, Germany, Argentina, Great Britain and New Zealand. Collins has surpassed both trend and time to create works which are distinct and carry an imprint which is instantly recognizable. Her mythic visions integrate text and illustration recalling history, literature and the spirit of the figures she depicts. Her large scale mixed-media images exist in an ambiguous realm that captivates our imagination as well as our admiration. Her figures appear as candid moments of time theatrically caught in a split second. Printed words that appear in each painting are at first ambiguous. But closer examination reveals clues to suggest narrative. Using such materials as paper aged in her studio, the process of application is apparent in Collins' works. The effect of yellowed, aging texts and ancient surfaces painted into the works add a nostalgic feeling of looking at an old photograph or movie still. The use of resin provides depth and a tactile quality that is created by a meticulous course of layering and torching the surface. The viewer is compelled to touch these canvases, which at times include in excess of thirty layers. Hidden or obscured imagery as well as the figurative incorporation of animals, humans, and invocation of text, ignite a calm in our otherwise hectic environment of information overload. Collins' imagery is uniquely enigmatic while certainly awe inspiring. Almost every week, the artist receives calls from collectors who own the work, expressing the discovery of a new hidden image, a different text, a previously unseen treat.