The Ashmolean has launched a new exhibition series of contemporary art: Ashmolean NOW, which invites contemporary artists to create new work inspired by the Ashmolean’s historical collections.
The first exhibition is dedicated to contemporary painting. It juxtaposes the work of two London-based painters, Flora Yukhnovich and Daniel Crews-Chubb.
Despite stylistic differences, the work of both artists links art historical inspirations with a dynamic and contemporary painterly language. The paintings displayed, all made specifically for this exhibition, convey a timeless passion for the medium of painting, its materials and processes.
For this series of three exhibitions in Gallery 8, each artist will explore different areas of the museum’s broad collections. Ashmolean NOW will feature their four very different points of view. The summer exhibition will be followed by Pio Abad in February 2024 and Bettina von Zwehl in October 2024.
Gallery 8 on the Lower Ground Floor
Flora Yukhnovich (b. 1990) found herself drawn to the palettes and compositions of the museum’s Dutch and Flemish still life paintings.
Her large-sized paintings feature intense red, pink, peach and green colours and an abstracted painterly language. Circular forms and soft contours suggest organic growth, while glowing light and dark contrasts create an illusion of three-dimensional depth.
Yukhnovich’s work playfully and critically explores different notions of femininity in the history of art and popular culture, looking at contrasting stereotypes like ‘virtuous’ and ‘monstrous’ women.
Daniel Crews-Chubb (b. 1984) presents a group of large-scale paintings that take inspiration from ancient sculptures of deities and non-human figures found in the Ashmolean.
These ‘immortals’, as Crews-Chubb calls his fantastical figures, are created through a laborious process of addition and revision, including drawing, impasto, and collage.
The textured patchwork of his canvasses gives Crews-Chubb’s monumental subjects a three-dimensional presence that, as he describes, ‘corrodes the boundary between painting and sculpture’.