The studio is simple. Afternoon sunlight pours in through the large windows, flooding the paint-splattered tarp and leftover salsa jars full of liquid color. Brushes and tools are scattered, though the room has a sense of order and organization, perhaps in a way that has meaning only to the artist. Taped to the wall are rough sketches of squares, and a huge canvas hangs beside. This is 22-year-old Ashley Brossart’s sanctuary, her force field.
“I paint because it’s my language, it’s my voice,” she says. “I have a lot to say, and painting and drawing are my vehicle for this.”
Brossart cannot recall a time in her life when she was not interested in art or the creative process. She is a Governor’s School for the Arts alum, and in addition to painting murals around town, she was the youngest artist to paint a Gallopalooza horse, a winged thing called “The Spirit of Pegasus.” Over the years, her approach has evolved into a distinct, abstract style, and she often adopts a certain theme and creates a series of paintings from there. Her most recent series explores societal tension, which she defines as the “push-pull.”
“I have a fascination with the way in which people interact and communicate, and how they work together,” she says.
But her recent paintings contain no people. On the surface, they appear to be layers of shapes and splatters. But these are elements of Brossart’s artistic voice — she uses line, color and shape to communicate her observations, rather than literal depictions or photographs. But she doesn’t mind when people look at her work and don’t “get it.” To her, that’s not important.
“If someone looks at the piece and they like it, then for me, that means that something there resonates with them,” she says. “But I know where the piece came from, and it’s a more broad way of communicating.” —Jane Mattingly
Jen Pellerin & Samantha Griffith
Thaniel Ion Lee