Ashley Czajkowski: Awakening
Situated within an eco feminist lens, Czajkowski’s work explores human animality and the tension between domestic and wildness- how these spaces coexist in tenuous relationship both in the environment but also in the inner landscape of her mind and body. “Awakening” implies not only a significant shift, but a jolt of realization- caused by inevitable forces. The title for this exhibition references the changes in our collective ecosystem as well as the artist’s transformative experience of childbirth and motherhood. For her, this personal and micro process mirrors macro and global ecological concerns, as both the earth and human bodies, especially maternal bodies, are environments in and on which many living organisms reside. In a sense these universally significant occurrences are simultaneous acts of life and death, a cycle which has become a familiar theme in Czajkowski’s work. For this show, Czajkowski is interested in how this particular word “domestic” or “domesticated” has dual and curiously entwined meanings. Referencing both the ability to tame wild things as well as referring to the space of the home and traditional “women’s work’. Many crafts traditionally relegated to the domestic sphere of women are highlighted in Czajkowski’s work including embroidery, herbalism, caregiving and midwifery. As with Czajkowski’s previous work, pieces in this exhibition will utilizes ritual in her creative practice, at times becoming part of the final presented work through performative gestures live or for the camera, but more often the ritual and ceremony occur as part of the unseen process, the energy of these communal experiences woven in and emanating from the residual art objects, almost like relics.
Ashley Czajkowski is an image-based artist working in a number of interdisciplinary methods. Driven by personal experience, her research explores social constructions related to femininity, mortality and the psychological manifestation of the human-animal. Though situated in photography, Czajkowski's practice also incorporates performance, video, installation, and alternative print processes, pushing the expected boundaries of the photographic art medium.
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