STUDIO VISIT INTERVIEW with Shana Dumont Garr
Raleigh-based Ashlynn Browning paints abstract structures — often resembling a geodesic polyp-like building containing levels of smaller lattices within — on wooden panels. Her work in this show is larger than work from just a year or two ago but the structures and shapes she depicts still look like gigantic objects on a small square or rectangle. The figures always meet or extend beyond the edges of the panels, implying that your vantage is from far away or above. It’s an implausible line of sight, which is exciting rather than disorienting. Browning’s uncanny use of color is what makes that difference. Even her darkest backgrounds remain warm.
Browning also paints these backgrounds over figural lines only visible texturally as raised ridges across space, like how a cartoonist uses a dotted outline to indicate an invisible thing. This is like erasure, as if she decided that the first structure she painted was no good and painted over it. But it’s not a correction; it’s intentionally disrupting a simple figure/ground reading of the image. Browning’s textural layer opens a fractional dimensionality between the two-dimensional presence of the panel’s area and the three-dimensional shape with its sense of distance from your vantage. By making something invisible visible, she’s reminding you that there’s more to reality than what you can see or know.
Chris Vitiello, catalogue essay, Flanders Gallery: New Angles exhibition, November 2012.
There is another sort of intimacy in art that eliminates the image as a goal and forces the viewer to deal more directly with the means. Ashlynn Browning creates work very much in this vein. Her drawing is participatory-upon coming to her work the viewer is invited to make the work with her-to follow her hand as spaces and events are created. This is perhaps the most intimate experience one can have with an art work. It is an experience special to drawing and one which is rarely if ever experienced in painting. The poetry of her work is palpable.
Gregory Amenoff, catalogue essay, CUE Art Foundation Exhibition: 2002-2003 Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant Winners. June 2004.