Carly Ashdown's 'pretty and funky' paintings go on show at Yorkshire gallery

One of Carly Ashdown's paintings
One of Carly Ashdown's paintings

An artist whose ‘pretty, edgy, funky’ paintings are influenced by figures as diverse as abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, comedian Bill Hicks and philosopher Alan Watts is to make a personal appearance at Cottingham’s Artmarket Gallery.

Visitors to the gallery can meet and chat with Carly Ashdown at the gallery, on the East Yorkshire town’s Hallgate, between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday May 25.

The event will be followed by a solo exhibition of her latest work until Saturday 8 June.

The film and photography graduate, who is also a trained counsellor and psychotherapist, will be showing her latest body of work which moves away from her more familiar depictions of dancing female figures to portray both men and women with motorbikes.

“I’m currently working on a huge, huge canvas that will be coming to the Artmarket – it’s maybe four times bigger than anything I’ve done before – of a couple with a motorbike,” she says.

“Motorbikes for me are a metaphor for freedom of spirit, a true and strong expression of the soul. In that sense they’re similar to the dancers – but I need to move on, keep things fresh.

“My work is much deeper than it’s sometimes perceived to be. Yes, it’s pretty, edgy, funky – but that’s just the first layer.”

Carly’s artistic debt to the American artist is clear in her work – acrylics with a drip-and-spatter finish similar to Pollock’s trademark technique.

“Watts was a philosopher who talked about consciousness and reality and the fact that it’s all made up,” she explains. “Like his, my work is an exploration of human experience.

“And Bill Hicks was really a preacher who spoke to people, through comedy, of the heart and soul, of human essence – things beyond our daily thinking.

“They both speak to a part of me, and to all of us, which doesn’t get addressed very often, making us feel seen and understood.

“It’s a real privilege to have my work at the Artmarket Gallery,” she adds. “They've been so welcoming. I’m so looking forward to sharing my paintings with people and hope they will see something that speaks to them.”