Opus 2022 Winners
Ashley Cassens is a representational painter who juxtaposes patterned fabric and crushingly lovely figure painting in her favorite medium, oil paint! She is a native Floridian who earned her BFA from Florida Southern College in 2006 and an MFA from Florida Atlantic University in 2017. In addition to her Graduate Teaching Assistantship in the MFA program, she has been awarded the Provost Fellowship, two Graduate Advisory Board Grants, a Friedland Grant, a Rothenberger Scholarship, an Ambassador of the Arts Scholarship, and was twice awarded a Women in the Visual Arts Scholarship.
She has exhibited her work at the ARC Gallery in Chicago, The Cornell Museum in Delray Beach, the Box Gallery in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. She has studied in workshops with Julian Schnabel and Steven Assael. In 2016 she worked at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL in museum education, furthering her passion for teaching. She is certified to teach Art K-12 and enjoys teaching Elementary Art by “day”.
Her most recent collection, “Eye Traps” is inspired by a Christian cult, the IBLP, which outlined a pamphlet on appropriate dress for women, warning of “eye traps”. Ashley is redefining the term to highlight every beautiful blemish, hair a-strewn, and deliciously highlighted cheekbone.
One thing that I want to make clear is that I do not consider myself a photographer. I’m studying to be a scientist, and as a scientist, I have become accustomed to working in strict processes and thought-out detail. Luckily, these are two qualities that mesh well with any kind of art, including my own photography. Nature is one of my main inspirations, and the laws of nature are centered around two simple ideas- balance and connectivity. It is because of this that I try to instill a sense of simple connectivity in my images.
I’m normally drawn to smaller moments. I think that an image with a simple, yet distinct subject can make a small, quiet moment seem loud. For me, this idea applies no matter what I’m photographing; whether it’s a bird, a house, or a model. It is my goal in photographing and in editing to make things simple, bold, and full of small details.
Thuy creates work that reflects her interest in both form and emptiness. She explores the spatial duality of the physical world and the contemplative mind. Through the assemblage of her own recycled architectural drawings and new brush strokes, each painting has its own dimension of time and temporality.
The contradictory scale within Thuy’s painting calls our visual memory to its fragmented collection of near and far. Thuy deliberately places technical architectural drawings in juxtaposition of loose pigment to create active dissonance between the human scale and object scale in its spatial relationship.
Since practicing as an architect, Thuy references her work from various modern architects and artists while creating a contemplative language in her stillness.
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