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Giant Painted Parachutes Touch Down in Detroit

See gigantic blown-up paintings in Claire Ashley's 'Lank Limp Lemons Suck' at the Young World Art Gallery.
Images courtesy of the artist

Painting goes beyond the two-dimensional realm in Claire Ashley’s new show, Lank Limp Lemons Suck, at the Young World Art Gallery in Detroit. Ashley was one of the artist recently featured in one of #LIVINGROOMTODAY's online/real life art show/party/video conference, where she contributed “gigantic inflatable breasts,” according to the event's organizers. Now, these inflatable orbs get a show of their own, exploring the boundaries instilled upon artistic mediums and the ways in which “we language objects,” as explained in the gallery’s description.


Like many honest avant-garde working today, Ashley’s multicolored inflatables challenge the confines of conformity between painting and sculpture, confronting how the labels we use to describe art create restrictions, an idea of what something is supposed to do, what purposes it may have, and how it should operate.

Ashley’s inflatables are always in a state of deflation, so they are constantly moving and never achieve stasis. “In that way it gets to some central concept of figuration and breathing as a totally human element,” Young World Programming Director Ben Hall tells The Creators Project. “I think the primary thing for me is to talk about how it refuses the rectangle as a painting. It's like a painting has to have the stretcher to be a painting and this is just the lightest way to make an edgeless image that's not beholden to the picture plane.”

On her website, Ashley explains her work as inhabiting “the liminal space between painting, sculpture, and performance, mining the language of painterly abstraction, monumental sculpture, slapstick humor, and pop art to transform mundane industrial materials into inflatable painted sculptures and performative props.”

Young World compares Ashley’s big inflatable blob to a human lung or “a shitty air mattress in your sister-in-law’s extra bedroom.” The blobs look like a dramatic rendition of those rainbow parachute tarps with handles around the perimeter that you would play with at barbecues and community building events where people would run under while the other chanted some song.


If you’re in Detroit during August 29th to September 19th, check out the exhibit for yourself. For more from Claire Ashley click here, and keep your eyes on the Young World Gallery for upcoming shows.


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