Biography

1948

Ashley was born in Salisbury, England, a few miles from Stonehenge where he spent much of his childhood playing amongst the giant Sarsen stones of the megalithic monument. Stonehenge and indeed the many ancient and sacred sites erected upon the chalk downs of his native Wiltshire were to have a large impact on his understanding of the Earth’s energies and the relationship that Man once entertained with his environment. The influence of these monumental earthworks and stone circles were to orientate his work as an artist towards the primitive forms of the megalith and tumulus, the male and female, in an attempt to express the bipolarity of nature.

He was educated at Millfield School in Somerset near the town of Glastonbury, one of the most sacred sites in Britain – the once Isle of Avalon where the sleeping Arthur lies. The Celtic legends were also to have a profound influence on his work in subsequent years.

1967

Salisbury College of Art At the age of nineteen Ashley settled in Paris intending to finish his studies at the Beaux Arts but carried on the wave of rebellion in the student’s revolution of 1968 that opposed all state institutions, he traded an artistic training at the Beaux Arts for a political education on the streets of Paris. He was quickly absorbed into the intellectual and artistic circles where he met the artists Viera da Silva and Arpad Szenes who were to guide him through his formative years as a painter. Having very little money and unable to afford conventional painting materials, he used sand and earth, acquiring such things as glue and clothes dye from the ironmonger’s shop. His discovery of the Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies encouraged him in his research with alternative materials.

1972

F.I.A.P. First solo exhibition in Paris.

1976

He undertook the daily discipline of keeping a diary where words are replaced with pictographic representations of events and encounters and a record of the meteorological conditions of the day.

1979

“Musée de Repos pour Chaussures Fatigués” - a sanctuary for old shoes. This collection of unwanted footwear was an inquiry into the market value attributed to discarded items of a consumer society, once they have been proclaimed Objects of Art.

Exhibitions followed at:

Galerie Dominique Barreau, Paris,

Galeria Edurne, Pedraza, Spain

Casa de la Cultura de Cuenca, Spain

Maison de la culture, St. Pierre et Miquelon,

Centre Culturelle, Rennes.

French national television (T.F.1.)

1981

Ashley moved to Lisbon, Portugal, for a year.

1982

“Musée Fragmenté” - an ‘inventory of the world, dedicated to the familiar history and the secret memory of ordinary things. This museum has grown over the years accumulating hundreds of items from the four corners of the earth.

1984

“Les Pendus” – a life-sized assembly of old rags and assorted objects representing “hanged men” for Alain leBoulaire’s Street Theatre in Rennes, Lorient, Charlesvilles-Mezières and for the café-theatre in Paris. He also created, for the occasion, scenery in-situ in collaboration with Isabelle Rabarot.

1985 – 95

Ashley worked as an animator on a number of animated films in Paris and Angoulème.

1986

“Bound Books” He touched upon the subject of censorship and the freedom of press, presenting books that, either can not be opened, or rendered unreadable in various ways.

1992

“The Universal Theme” Ashley embarked upon his first conscious application of the “Universal Theme” in the creative process – working in awareness of the natural heritage in the Western Tradition, as portrayed by Robert Graves in his definition of poetry.

The Universal Theme is the in-temporal story of birth, life and death, the cycle of life and the seasons – the resurrection of the waxing year and its struggle with the waning year for the love of the all powerful Threefold Goddess. According to Graves all true poetry issues in one way or another from at least one aspect of this story. To give intent and meaning to his work, from this time onwards, all Ashley’s paintings are created through a conscious application of this theme by means of an ancient text that was said to have been sung by the Chief Bard of the Milesians as he set his foot on Irish soil in 1268 BCE. Ashley inscribes this poetic invocation of nature into the matter of his paintings as a multiple palimpsest, the words of the poem losing their identity with each passage until only their intention remains.

1993

Galerie Didier Champel – “Murs et Murmurs” The first solo exhibition of these works was organized by the Passerelle des Arts at the Galerie Didier Champel in Paris.

1994

“A host of Broken Angels” Following the horrors of the Rwanda genocide, he created a “Host of Broken Angels” – a multitude of small fragile mobiles devised from wire and cloth singed with fire.

Shakespeare and Chaucer He published two books of illustrations on Shakespeare and Chaucer (Little Brown Books, Indigo Press).

1995

Salon de la Jeune Peinture He was elected  member of the selection committee for the Salon de la Jeune Peinture in Paris.

1996

Solo exhibitions of paintings at:

La Sorbonne, Paris.

Les Usines Bertheau, Ivry sur Seine for which he produced a lithograph with Frank Bordas.

‘Le Circle des Officiers de Compiègne’ He was commissioned to provide eight paintings for ‘Le Circle des Officiers de Compiègne.’ After much hesitation he decided that this was an opportunity to bring a pacifying element into a military training establishment. Each painting was dedicated to a poet, victim of war and, beneath the pictorial matter of the paintings, he inscribed with tar a large CND sign with the intention that it would gradually work its way to the surface.

He made a pilgrimage to Ireland, the mythical land of his inspiration, visiting the home of his great grandfather in Donegal.

1996-97

La Cinquième Television Channel - creation of scenery in collaboration with Jacques Lélut.

1997

Married Maryam Ramezani.

Solo exhibitions of paintings at:

A.R.I.A.P., Lille

L’Abbaye de Flaran - a retrospective of his work in the Gers region of southern France.

“The Sentinels” He worked on a number of sculptures in plaster.

1998

Birth of his daughter, Sarah.

Solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures:

Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke, Paris.

St’Art’98, Contemporary Art Fair, Strasbourg with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

Art Jonction, Nice with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

Lineart Flanders Expo, Gent, Belgium with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

1999

Solo exhibition hosted by:

St’Art’99, Contemporary Art Fair, Strasbourg with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

Salon d’Automne.

He published 20 years of his diary “Days in a Life,” (Mèzigue Editeur: the smallest publisher in Paris directed by Didier Tronchet).

2000

He had a solo exhibition of paintings at:

Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris.

He was awarded the ‘Grand Prix Paul Ackerman pour la Recherche Plastique’

Lineart Flanders Expo, Gent, Belgium with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

“Pop Club” He was interviewed by José Artur at the Fouquets for his radio show “Pop Club.”

“Les Afganies” His atelier became the yearly rendezvous pour “Les Afganies”- a circle of writers founded by the writer and poet Anne Sibran.

2001

St’Art’2001, Contemporary Art Fair, Strasbourg with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

Lineart Flanders Expo, Gent, Belgium with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

2002

He had solo exhibitions of paintings at:

Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris

Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke, Paris

Lineart Flanders Expo, Gent, Belgium with the Galerie Pascal Vanhoecke.

A.R.A.M.I., Ermont (Special Guest).

2003

Palais Épiscopale de Lectoure La Passerelle des Arts organized a retrospective of Ashley’s paintings at the Palais Épiscopale in Lectoure, Gers.

First Beijing Biennale of Contemporary Art, China. He was invited to participate in the First Beijing Biennale of Contemporary Art in China.

2005

Solo exhibition of paintings at:

Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris.

He was awarded the ‘Grand Prix Renée Béja de la Fondation Taylor.’

2006

Solo exhibition of paintings at:

Galerie Pierrick Touchefeu (Galerie Klein), Sceaux.

2007

Maison d’Art Bernard Anthonioz Installation of the ‘Musée Fragmenté’ at the Maison d’Art Bernard Anthonioz, Nogent sur Marne.

ARTE – “Le Journal de la Culture” He was interviewed by the French/German television channel, ARTE.

Solo exhibitions of paintings at:

Galerie Quai Est, Ivry sur Seine,

Salon du Vésinet (Special Guest)

Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris.

“Paralèlle-s” He became a founding member of the group “Paralèlle-s” (a group of 8 abstract artistes).

2008

Institut du Monde Arabe – Exhibited two large paintings in the Institut du Monde Arabe, for the exhibition “Regards Croisés – Paris/Damas,” organized by the Galerie Europia.

2009

Artist’s symposium, Amman, Jordan, in support of the victims of Israeli aggression in Gaza.

Arts et Jalons He was presented by the writer and poet Michel Besnier at the circle of poets Arts et Jalons in Saint-Mandé.

National Museum of Damascus - “Regards Croisés – Paris/Damas” was shown in the National Museum of Damascus in Syria, under the patronage of the Syrian Ministry of Culture and the Galerie Europia.

Karma Art Gallery He presented six paintings at the Karma Art Gallery, Aleppo, Syria.

2010

Solo exhibition of paintings at:

Galerie Europia, Paris.

The groupe “Paralèlle-s” was dissolved and Ashley, with 3 of its members (Franck Duminil, Anne Pourny, and Hélène Gauthier) began working on a project, under the guidance of Gilbert Cotteau (architect of social innovations) and Lydia Harambourg (art critic and historian), to nourish a reflection on the meaning of art and the artist’s responsibility to society.

2011

Solo exhibition at:

Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris.

Galerie Europia, Paris – Group show in solidarity with the people of Syria.

2012

Galerie Europia – Group show “Liberté Inspirations de Mahmoud Darwish.”

Lille International Art Faire with the Galerie Claudine Legrand.

“Six artistes in Ivry– studio visits organized by Christine Bonhomme.

Palestinian Contemporary Art Museum in Jerusalem – Donation of a large diptych for the future Palestinian Contemporary Art Museum in Jerusalem which, under the patronage of Unesco’s Palestinian ambassadeur Elias Sanbar, was exhibited at the Galerie Julio Gonzalez, Arcueil.

Solo exhibitions at:

Galerie l’Art du Temps, Drome.

Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris.

UNESCO “Les Arts Contre Les Armes” Group show at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, under the supervision of the Ambassador Elias Sanbar.

2013

Solo exhibition at:

Galerie Europia, Paris.

2014

UNESCO – Ashley’s painting was amongst those selected from Palestine’s National Museum of Contemporary Art, to be shown at the UNESCO Headquarters in PARIS, to celebrate the National Day of Palestinian Culture, under the presidency of Elias Sanbar.

Solo exhibitions at:

Galerie Art2fact, Montfort l’Amaury,

Galerie Bartoli, Marseille,

Galerie Point Rouge, Grimaud

Galerie Claudine Legrand, Paris.

2015

Ashley embarked upon a new series of paintings “Pathways.”

He moved his studio from Ivry sur Seine to Bas Normandy.

2016

Solo exhibition at:

Galerie L’Art du Temps, Drôme.

He was awarded the 1st Prize at the Salon d’Art en Perche – “Paysages.”

2017

Solo exhibition of paintings at:

Galerie Luxart, Arlon, Belgium.


PRINCIPAL SHOWS:

UNESCO, PARIS.

Galerie Claudine Legrand, PARIS

Galerie Bartoli, MARSEILLE.

Galerie Point Rouge, GRIMAUD.

Galerie Art2fact, MONTFORT L’AMAURY.

Galerie municipale Julio Gonzalez, ARCUEIL.

Galerie l’Art du Temps, DROME

Galerie Europia, PARIS

Karma Art Gallery, ALEPPO, SYRIA

National Museum of DAMASCUS, SYRIA

Maison d’Art Bernhard Anthonioz, NOGENT SUR MARNE

Institute du Monde Arabe, PARIS

Engineers Association, AMMAN, JORDANIE

Galerie Vanhoecke, PARIS

Galerie Klein, SCEAUX

A.R.I.A.P., LILLE

L’Abbaye de Flaran, GERS

Auditorium Saint Germain des Prés, PARIS

Galerie Quai Est, IVRY sur SEINE

Grand Palais, PARIS

Palais Episcopale, GERS

Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III, PARIS

Les Usines Bertheau, IVRY s/SEINE

Casa de la Cultura de CUENCA, ESPAGNE

Galerie Edurne, PEDRAZA, ESPAGNE.

Passerelle des Arts, PARIS

Passerelle des Arts, ST.CLOUD

Passerelle des Arts, GERS

Maison de la Culture de RENNES

A.C.A.M., BRECEY

Hotel de Chaulnes, PARIS

U.N.E.S.C.O., PARIS

Afrikaan’s Baaz’art, MONTAUBAN

Galerie Didier Champel, PARIS

Espace Pierre Cardin, PARIS

Espace Lamartine, PARIS

Maison de la Culture de ST. PIERRE ET MIQUELON

Hotel de la Princesse Robech, PARIS

Espace A.G.F., NANTES

“On Achève bien les tableaux,” (performance), PARIS

Tombée de la Nuit, RENNES

Festival de Lorient, LORIENT

“Art en Campagne,” GUERLESQUIN

Galerie Municipale, VITRY s/SEINE

Galerie Dominique Barreau, PARIS

F.I.A.P., PARIS

PRINCIPAL ART FAIRS:

Art Jonction, NICE

Lineart Flanders Expo, GENT, BELGIQUE

St’Art’, Foire d’Art Contemporain de STRASBOURG

Biennale de BEIJING, CHINE

Salon de la Jeune Peinture, PARIS

Salon d’Automne, PARIS, COMPIEGNE, SARRIA en Espagne

Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, PARIS

Salon de BALLANCOURT, ESSONNE

Salon d’Art Contemporain de BOUFFEMONT

A.R.A.M.I, ERMONT

Centre Culturel du VESINET

Ashley lives and works in Ivry sur Seine and Bas Normandy, France. His works can be found in many collections throughout Europe, the United States and the Middle East.