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Ripeness Is All - Ashley Hope
Ashley Hope. Horse Hair, 2007. Oil on panel. 74 X 43 1/8 in.
NEW YORK.- A debut solo exhibition by Ashley Hope will be on view at Tilton Gallery from November 20th to December 22nd, 2007. Entitled Ripeness Is All, the show contains Hope’s transcendent oil paintings based on crime scene photos, along with a selection of other recent work.

Hope’s large canvases, 4 by 6 feet, recreate images of murdered women in visceral yet pristine detail. The work is based on forensic photographs ranging from the 1910’s to the 1990’s, featuring actual victims of Lustmord, or lust murder. Both disturbing and seductive, Hope’s work captures the complex state of fear and mesmerization that such trauma elicits. The image of Lustmord represents something far larger than the narrative at hand—it captures the nature of a universe that allows such things to happen. The discordant pattern on the wallpaper or the victim’s inappropriately bright attire, reveal a world wherein the tragic and the merry mundane must awkwardly co-exist. Ultimately, it is not the gory elements of a specific death that Hope offers her viewer, but rather the epiphany of life’s sublime duality and her own gesture at acceptance.

While Hope’s work is deeply philosophical, it is also inescapably political: her images are of women wholly objectified by a male killer. Though dead, Hope’s women retain much of what was valued in them while alive—their beauty. Generally, man is valued for his interior qualities, his mind, while woman is valued for her exterior attributes, her body. Hope’s work—images of women reduced to a body—underscores this dichotomy, thus challenging these reductive tendencies.

Also on display will be a series of smaller works based on ladies’ panty advertisements. These close-ups of vaginal mounds reiterate the artist’s interest in our ability to know of something immense, while not having direct access to it as a visual target. In this way, the veiled pubis in the Panties series replaces the knowable-yet-unknowable nature of the universe as represented in her crime scene images. While the Panties series is a more humorous approach, both bodies of work create a two-fold inquiry into the weight of sex and death on self-definition—female in particular.

Born in Montreal in 1976, Hope received her BFA and MFA from Hunter College in New York City. She has shown previously as part of the School Days group exhibition at the Tilton Gallery in New York and the Do Not Stack show at Roberts and Tilton in Los Angeles. This is her first solo show.

The Tilton Gallery is located at 8 East 76th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 – 6 and Monday by appointment. For more information, please visit our Web site at, or call 212-737-2221.

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