Ashley Andel went to an art high school, and reads lots of art and design books, plus he listens to music loads, and reads magazines, lots and lots of magazines, porn, tabloids, art rags, and everything else–he works in a toy store, one of those who sells lots of pretty and clever things, figurines of elephantys, hello kitty televisions, sigmund freud action figures–that sort of thing.

So his art is collegey, with lots of source material from obscure german records to hustler magazine to family photos to photocopies from the big art books he gets from the library. he is sort of like sigmar polke, but polke is really clever and is full of himself, or david salle, but salle has a bit of a misogyny problem, something i never got from ashley. plus i think he really loves his source material, i think he gets a kick out it.

the other thing is that he is dirty, nothing is pure in his designs, they collide and interact and play together, and there are a million colours (well not a million, but in this i saw pistachio green,cheap strawberry ice cream pink, lemon yellow, powder blue, cowboy red gingham, the colours of kitsch and childhood–except kitsch suggests a lack of respect for his source material, and he loves it) and a million black and white imgaes (well not a millon but dozens esp. related to recasting and reworking representations of the human body, and dozens of words in dozens of fonts all over the place, but that lack of purity doesnt mean that there is not a general cohesiveness, maybe thats his skill, is his ability to play both ends against the middle, a cohesive chaos–if thats even possible.

lately his work has become smaller, more intimate, less direct and more decortative, but in a way that manages to complicate the rest of the texts, cnavases the size of a hand, in these bone whites and pale pinks, handsome and joyful creations that are riffs on visual culture, shorthand on things we see everyday, but stranger and more entagled. they are getting better and better–and i thik that he is the best artist working in edmonton, even if we are friends.

if he moved to vancouver or toronto, he would make a fortune, more then a fortune, he would be famous–i think he is happier where he is, and i doubt there are many edmonton readers of this blog, but its nice to see a local artist happy with smaller markets, and showing–he wouldnt show for a long time and wouldnt sell–then there were gigs in record stores and cafes–maybe people will sit up and look, when it is in a local place.