Suffering and Transcendence, Graphite, ink and charcoal on paper, 44 x 84 inches, 2015. Images courtesy the artist
Exquisite photorealism is only half the story with Miami artist Ashley Oubré's stunning greyscale illustrations, often of nude figures lying prostrate or face down on the ground, picture-perfect images of loneliness, abandonment, and grief. By layering graphite powder and India ink meticulously one after the other, she captures the little details that bring the sadness of her subjects to fruition. The bags under a young child's eyes. The discomfort evident in an older woman's hunched spine. Each person is an island, fading into an ocean of white.
This metaphor is furthered in her Jellyfish series, a translation of humanity's emptiness into the isolated, stagnant lives of the titular sea creatures. Rather than a metaphorical ocean of white, these jellies navigate a literal one. And yet, like their human counterparts, there is undeniable beauty in these lonely life forms. Both series seem to ask, begging for an answer, "Is the beauty of living worth the sadness of being alone?"
Jellyfish series, Graphite, india ink and carbon on paper 11 x 14 inches, each 2015
Aquatic dream, Graphite, india ink and carbon on paper, 44 x 60 inches, 2015
Agony I, Graphite ink and carbon on paper, 44 x 60 inches, Private collection, 2015
Agony II, Graphite, ink and carbon on paper, 44 x 60 inches, Private collection, 2015
Yosra, Graphite, ink and carbon on paper, 22 x 30 inches, Private collection, 2014
Soliloquy, Graphite, ink and carbon on paper 22 x 30 inches, 2015
Defeat, Graphite, ink and carbon on paper 22 x 30 inches, 2015
Nehr (study of an Eric Nehr), Graphite and carbon on paper, 14 x 11 inches, 2013
Untitled, Graphite and ink on paper, 11 x 14 inches, 2015
Drowning 1 + 2, Graphite, ink and carbon on paper, 24 x 24 inches, each, Private collection, 2014
Simone at Sea Graphite, ink and charcoal on paper 18 x 18 inches, each 2016
See more of Oubré's work on her website, and her cheerier side on Instagram.
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