Opening Party Preview: Alex Asch

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

With our massive Opening Party happening tomorrow, we caught up with artist Alex Asch to talk about  his practice and the new work he has created for the event:

Hi Alex, we’re so pleased to have you on board for our Opening Party, tell us a little bit about what you have planned.

The window work I have placed in this exhibition responds to a childhood memory at the natural history museum in Boston; the miniature worlds of dioramas behind glass. I think I was transported when walking around the Ainslie primary school and looking through the glass windows into the old classrooms.

What’s your background as an artist?

I was born in Boston MA and much of my work looks back at my childhood growing up in New England. I immigrated to Australia and graduated from the ANU School of Art in 1989. For the past 26 years I have been a practicing artist living and working in the ACT and Queanbeyan.

What are the key themes that inform your practice?

I am a construction artist and my practice primarily involves bringing found objects and reworked materials together to form new narratives.

Much of your work reinterprets found objects, what is it about these objects that appeals to you and connects with your practice?

I have always used recycled and found materials as the building blocks for my artworks. There is an honesty to the colors and patinas of these materials, the marks of human contact, the scratching of dogs, the dark stains that have seeped deep into the timber, the faded blue paint of a childhood memory. These aspects can never be replicated or mimicked, they can only occur through time and history.

How would you describe your creative process?

Although I work within pre conceived ideas I tend to work intuitively allowing the materials to dictate color, texture and form. There is also an element of serendipity in objects and found materials coming together spontaneously forming the unexpected

Do you have any key influences or inspirations?

I draw on and find inspiration in the work of Joseph Cornell, Ed and Nancy Kienholz and Rosalie Gascoigne. During Art school the constructions of Ingo Kleinert helped me clarify some of my ideas and directions but perhaps my biggest influence over the past 17 years has been the work of my wife and fellow artist Mariana del Castillo.

What do you like about having a Canberra based practice?

Actually I live in Queanbeyan, a minor detail unless you are my neighbor who recently declared to me that he had not entered the ACT since 1979 ‘ they got nothing I want’ obviously he is not much of an art lover because he has missed out on a number of great art institutions and galleries. Canberra has a fantastic infrastructure for its relatively small population and I love living here.

What are you looking forward to seeing at the Opening Party?

Lots of friends, great art, music and food and the community coming together to celebrate this inspiring renovation of this old school house.

  • Alex Asch, 'The last lap' (detail), 2015, 500 x 300 mm, recycled mixed media. Image courtesy the artist.