Not Just Another Pretty Face 2019

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Ashley M. Freeby: Plots & Hems

Artist Ashley M. Freeby, reflects on the traditions of her family as methods for healing. Born to a Black farmer and a Pennsylvania Dutch quilt maker, Freeby reflects on the crafts her family members mastered. A family divided by race, Freeby uses language, constructs fabric works, and a series of schematic drawings to collaborate with members of her family and join them in one collective space. This new body of work challenges Freeby to connect with family members living or deceased to develop and learn the crafts they left behind.

Freeby anchors her interdisciplinary, labor intensive practice in a curiosity for truth telling. She is inspired by unexpected back to Earth monuments and often contemplates how we keep the dead out of the realm of the living. Thinking about the world below the surface her work uses minimalist aesthetics with poetic language to investigate site. She recently has been exploring how aerial views can be used as a form to spark memory. Exploring the layers of Earth from the surface down or from above she is establishing methods to reconnect the dead with the living.

Image: Ashley M. Freeby, Exploration of Grandma’s Quilt, 2018, quilt facing made by Katie E. Schadler (grandmother of artist)
  • September 15 – December 1, 2019

  • Gallery 5

About Ashley M. Freeby

Freeby anchors her interdisciplinary, labor intensive practice in her curiosity for truth telling. Beginning with an acute exploration of American history she investigate a collective, more inclusive story around the current society we live in. By rooting her practice in historical events and our current political time, Freeby develops an understanding of how the injustices against people of color throughout history inform our understanding of American society today. The discoveries of pre existing documentation and objects are reused or recreated by hand, to build a critical examination of societal social constructs of identity and culture.

Freeby graduated with an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018.  She has had solo exhibitions at Kanzlei, Berlin, Germany, and GalleryX, Chicago, IL. Her work has been included in group exhibitions in Toronto, Chicago, and Pennsylvania. Recent residencies include  Vermont Studio Center (2019); Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin (2018); Chicago Artist Coalition (2018-19). Freeby is a Hyde Park Art Center Ground Floor 2018 alum.