Style is a funny thing. If I were to look and only look, I would never put these two artists together. But I have engaged with them independently in decade-long conversations on a range and depth of topics so similar I feel like I am having parallel conversations with them.
Claire Ashley and Judith Brotman share a focus on the glitches and frailties of body systems. Neither focuses on dying, nor on a fight for one’s life. They explore less remarkable passages of time. Social connections hang off skeletons. Sinews and ligaments tighten or relax to shape the mouth in its cadence of conversation sounds. The bumps and bulges of bodies are inseparable from squabbles in otherwise like minded congregations. Both Judith and Claire find insight adjacent to oceans of not so very much. They dig through awkward conjunctions, and try to untangle the knots and nests all those networks leave. Judith hones in on words as fundamental tools used to see, or tools to help us comprehend or experience what we see. Claire avoids words as manifest content but relishes word play (the inflated primacy of the picture plane, or compositions that are vital enough they actually move). Play rules supreme in both studios, but the playing field is littered with difficult things. Neither tidies results, but rather invite you in while still very much in the process of becoming. You know. Living.