Ashley Eliza Williams | Anthropocene
Bio
Ashley Eliza Williams is a painter and interdisciplinary artist living in North Adams, MA where she is participating in The North Adams Project at MASS MoCA. Her work is informed by environmental concerns and a desire to study and build relationships with non-human beings like minerals, animals, storms, and trees. In 2017, she attended artist residencies in Germany, Thailand, China, and The United States. Williams' work is exhibited nationally and internationally. She is a founding member of The Sprechgesang Institute, based in NYC.

Artist Statement
The Anthropocene Project
Future scientists or aliens who study our time will be able to read the story of the human species in the rock strata. They may discover fossilized bison teeth alongside ossified vacuum cleaners, melted particles of plastic and aluminum, a faint impression of the Manhattan subway system, an imprint of an Alpine water-fern, traces of coal ash, and artificial radionuclides. They will see evidence of altered ocean chemistry, shifted deserts, and extinction on a massive scale.

After many years of exploring geology as a natural system, I'm now painting rocks as unnatural objects, altered by humans. Human beings are changing and damaging the landscape to such a degree that many scientists believe our species can now be considered a "geological force" much like glaciers and volcanoes. Geologists have named this age of human influence The Anthropocene. The effects of industry, agriculture, and war have created a geological scar that will be detectable for millions of years.

In this series of paintings, I am imagining a future geology. These rocks are samples extracted from The Anthropocene epoch. Our human trace is represented abstractly through synthetic color: acidic oranges, plastic blues, chemical reds, and radioactive violets. I assume the role of stratigrapher, as I measure, analyze, and excavate my paintings in an attempt to make sense of these imaginary future artifacts and the species that created them.

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