29 June - 24 July
I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
ASHLEY FROST’s works often capture the sublime transition of early morning or evening dusk light. Fluid in form and composition, His paintings engage otherworldly evocations of light through a vivid and viscous palette. Known for capturing city and streetscapes as well as coastal scenes, Frost takes to new body of work and his viewers on a bush walk up to the escarpment forests.
Located in the Illawarra and accessed by the Wodi Wodi Track – named for the original custodians of the land of this area – the Illawarra Escarpment or official the Illawarra Range and its fold-created cliffs and plateau-eroded outcrop mountain range west of the Illawarra coastal plain south of Sydney. It contains the most extensive area of rainforest in the Sydney basin. In his Escarpment series ASHLEY FROST strives to express through his paintings a coherence of the natural form of the escarpment. FROST’s key focus is to be on creating a sensation of the light of the area; one that is both felt and visually observed.
A distinctive feature of the Illawarra escarpment forest is its proximity to the ocean – in some cases like Stanwell Park only a few hundred metres – creating a dramatic convergence of mountain and sea. On any still day the early morning light is reflected off the south coast ocean like a mirror, throwing light into the forest from all directions. This dazzling light has the effect of radiating light and colour from all objects in all directions, shortening shadows and eliminating silhouettes.
ASHLEY FROST’s practice of painting en plein air at often drastically different times and moments throughout the day allows him to capture this enchanting divergence. FROST revels in a diverse mixture of eucalyptus on the escarpment. However, he takes particular interest in its upper points where the angophoras dominate on high. From the deep orange reds of its distinctive bark FROST is compelled to play with the colour and temperature of his paintings. This coupled with the relentless twisting and turning limbs of the Angophora sees a natural linear abstraction emerging within ASHLEY FROST’s work. The sensory peace and meditative state of this environment allowed for the artist’s work en plein air to brings forth and provide a bridge to a deeper experience of place; one that considers the Indigenous histories and the environmental balances of what is a dramatic backdrop to the artist’s local town of Thirroul that spans 200 million years of geological history.
ASHLEY FROST has had many solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. He has been in many prestigious art prizes, including, the Mosman, the Paddington Art Prize, the NSW Parliament Plein Air Art Prize, the Archibald Prize in 2017 and currently as a finalist in both the Wynne and Sulman Art Prizes 2021.