Wk 7 – Artist Conversation – Ashley Shumaker


Artist: Ashley Shumaker

Exhibition: Storm Studies

Media: monopress on paper, palm bark

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery



Ashley Shumaker is a student that attends California State University, Long Beach. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Printmaking. She pays close attention to small details in her work and is very resourceful. Her gallery was created using the fallen bark off of palm trees.



Ashley’s work is somewhat abstract, with patches of colors gently nestled on top of each other. There is a flowly edge to her pieces. If you look carefully, you can see the textured marks that the palm bark left on her piece. The color’s within Ashley’s art ranges from white, to grey, to blue. The colors both blended nicely into one another, and stuck out boldly.


Ashley has several pictures on display with somewhat random shapes flowing throughout. I spent some time looking closely at her shapes. She tells me that she wanted to depict an abstract landscape as well as display what the sky weather pattern appears like. The shapes that she has chosen make me picture a churning ocean and an overview of the weather forcast on channel 7 news. After closer inspection of her pieces, the fibrous texture added from the palm tree bark makes the pieces seem to be more nature oriented. Some of the papers are somewhat see through so they come off to be more like clouds or water as well. I believe her art inspires the experience of rain falling on the outside of your dwelling, and taking it all in from the inside. I first thought this when I looked into her  gallery from the outside. It appears that each piece of artwork on display is a window, and that the blank walls appear to be more of an interior space.


I think the recent storms have affected everyone in a different way. What they mean for me, is no more beach days with my skimboard due to the augmented bacteria levels after rainfall. They have also kept me indoors more than I would have liked throughout the winter. For some, the rain has swept away their homes and buried many of their precious keepsakes, trashed roads, and even taken lives. However, I think that the recent rainstorm has been necessary for the population moving forward and that the previous drought phase that California has made it through made Californians more aware of their water consumption. Perhaps in the future, some policy is made to prevent the dependence on rainfall for survival.

All else aside, Ashley’s art drew me into her exhibition. I think her layout choice was what drew me in the most.

side note: I do not like the new trend of partially blocking off an exhibit entrance. It makes it more difficult to enter and exit the exhibit as well as makes me feel thick. Im pretty sure it is against fire code as well.

As I stated earlier, her exhibit felt like an indoor space where you could view the storm and take it in. The dark painting on the end of the corridor was lit up in a way that invited you to walk right up to it and get close enough to touch the paper. It reminded me of the feeling you get when you are inside your house, snuggled up with some tea and a book, and looking outside at the windy and cold environment.
When I looked at her side portraits more closely, they reminded me of wave photography. Because I like to skimboard, I see a lot of media generated from the closely knit group of individuals who have residence in southern California. Although watching skimboarding (or even surfing for that matter) is the simple act of watching someone stand up, turn and then fall or perhaps jump, it is always exciting to watch because there is an arbitrary element in it all. No two waves will ever be exactly the same, nor will the performance. Each thing has its own unique characteristics that draw you in and make you take a seat. I saw this in Ashley’s art through her amorphous shapes and stringy texture produced through the bark of palm trees used through her monopress.

I enjoyed Ashley’s exhibition this Wednesday.



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