Scotland

In the mid 1990’s, working as a bicycle-courier for a travel agent gave Ashley access to cheap travel and he made a series of train journeys to the Isle of Skye and flights to Aberdeen, which inspired his next body of work. 

Highly figurative, and using photography as a source, the series showed the first appearance and innovation of relief: the Saltire nailed to the canvas, explicit in ‘Caledonian Ferry’ and buried beneath the paint in the ‘Skye Diptych’, forcing the dynamism of the composition. This piece and the pair of ‘Warehouses, Aberdeen’ paintings both started as a single piece. Painted on wood, both were cut in two during the process, the beginning of a fascination with the diptych format and the relationship between pairs of paintings and multi-canvases which was later to play a crucial role in the ‘City of Glass’ series.

In a very different painting ‘Skye’, experience is reduced to map-shape and colour – in a subversion of scale, Skye is reminiscent of a torn autumn leaf.

In the inventive ‘Portree’, an imaginary viewpoint is created from a collection of photos, the pink- building on the left outsized to complete the frame, barely containing the weight of water in front of the building.

The graphic ‘Skye-Ferry’ was exhibited in the 1997 Hunting Art Prizes exhibition at the Royal College Art and at the Edinburgh Art Fair in 2008.