Claire Ashley’s inflatable sculptures explode from the galleries at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Claire Ashley’s inflatable sculptures explode from the galleries at the Chicago Cultural Center.
February 15

Faculty Solo Exhibition Earns Four Stars

On February 7 Time Out Chicago gave SAIC faculty member Claire Ashley’s (Painting and Drawing) solo exhibition frizzflopsqueezepop at the Chicago Cultural Center a four-star review. The artist’s “evocative,” colossal, and brightly colored inflatable sculptures “beg to be poked and prodded,” describes Art Editor Lauren Weinberg. Ashley developed an initial fascination with inflatables as a parent concerned about the safety of plastic toys, and drew visual inspiration from the vibrant graffiti she encounters on her daily commute from Oak Park to SAIC.  “Despite their joyful colors and goofy titles, and the playful connotations of their medium, Ashley’s inflatables have an undertone of menace,” Weinberg says.  “Their sagging, bulbous forms recall bodily organs swollen to grotesque sizes. All are abstract, but several large-scale pieces, including beauwoahzeau (two) (2012), which looks like a fat elephant sitting on its hindquarters, resemble living creatures closely enough to strike one as uncanny.”