2023 BA → Avigayil Ashton

Avigayil Ashton

Portrait of Avigayil Ashton, Oil paint on canvas, 80 cm x 68 cm, 2023
My practice reflects upon traditional portraiture, primarily taking inspiration from the ‘pioneers of painting’ within the renaissance; Velasquez, Vermeer etc. These form the foundations for my practice, taking their compositions and quoting them from my experience as a woman. The originals are often exclusionary or reductive when depicting women – reducing them to an idealised ‘muse’. This ‘muse’ has been embodied as the idealized nude woman such as the reclining, submissive nude.
Through my more traditional portraits I seek to infiltrate the men represented (from the traditional reference) and insert women into these narratives ‘woman spreading’ (as opposed to man spreading) so to speak. Within my work, women’s narratives are recognized with the same space and dignity as previously were exclusively granted to men.
I further seek to investigate the access we as an audience expect to the female body. My expanded work disects and distracts from this expected gaze and utilises photographic manipulation and abstraction to create these diversions. The use of the digital-eye, perspective, gender reversal and distorted imagery confronts our expectations and previously ‘freely granted’ viewing of the female form- particularly as a muse.