Explore fresh interpretations of the abstract via art and writing. This online exhibition gives you a peek into the full collection available in the July 202w issue of ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal.

Gold Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

William Horton

Gold Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Some photographers can paint with light. William Horton creates photographs that dissolve the literal meaning of objects. His images blur into abstraction, celebrating a swirl of light and shadow.

The series of photographs entitled Shadow and Light, featured in this issue of ArtAscent, investigates abstract patterns, also displaying their materiality. What shapes, trajectories, and perspectives can sunlight create when refracting household objects? William captures them through the medium of the camera. His images capture lines of light projecting onto walls like abstract Chinese shadow plays. His pictures directly present nothing physical; everything evokes imaginary and unrecognizable forms. The photographer carefully captures light, the imperceptible element that permits the photography itself and makes it solid. William is able to give structure to this evanescent element par excellence. He creates shining architecture as if they were material structures.

William is interested in capturing the three-dimensionality of light and shadows. For this reason, he has to use an experimental technique. William does not merely observe what light projects on the wall. Rather, he zooms in and pushes the lens of his camera. He repeatedly performs various tests to achieve the desired effect. The Shadow and Light series was shot with a digital single-lens reflex camera and edited digitally. The goal is as simple as it is priceless: to make the observer’s eye more attentive, more accurate, and more inclined to read abstraction even in everyday life.

The world around us—especially its transformations and transfigurations in light—is a relevant source of inspiration for William’s photography. This is why his artistic practice can be linked more intuitively to that of painters than to that of photographers. Painters, such as the English J. M. W. Turner, abstracted natural phenomena through the medium of paint. Turner captured storms, cloudy skies, fires and glimpses of the sun to play with light and natural effects. Similarly, William’s photographs also capture the energy of brightness. His chiaroscuro-enhancing use of black and white and his focus on revealing hidden geometric patterns bring him stylistically close to the 20th-century photographer Edward Weston. Like Weston, his subjects become abstract through daring close-ups.

William Horton has experimented with photography since his first year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Interested in different technologies, he worked with both film and digital photography. His work has been displayed in art-oriented publications and many art exhibitions, like the American Society of Media Professionals Exhibition in Denver. He also won numerous awards, including the Camera Obscura Journal award. William Horton lives  photography as his preferred tool of revelation: it brings out unnoticed patterns, fleeting moments, and unseen aspects of ordinary life.

William Horton is the Gold Artist of the ArtAscent Abstract call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue.

www.williamhortonphotography.com

Gold Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Susan Nickerson

In the Room

The small chairs that lines the walls of the shrink’s office were filled with nervous, toe-tapping people, waiting for their turn on ‘the couch.’ I stood in the middle of the room. My large, heavy body is invisible to those around me. Just as well, I concluded. As previously arranged, a therapist appeared in the waiting area and called my name…

A waiting hall of a psychotherapist’s studio, several nervous people, and a flashy, big, pink elephant in the center of it all. This is the surreal scene that writer Susan Nickerson masterfully sketches in her short novel.

However, what lies behind this awkward pink character with surrealist features? What does the writer want to communicate to us with the metaphor of a pink elephant in the room? Susan plunges through her serrated writing style into an abstract territory: that of pain, psychological distress, and addictions. Through implicit clues and dialogue, the writer’s words try to let the reader understand the problem. The body of the elephant is giant but invisible to most. Its appearance should be a warning, but only a particularly sensitive few people can see it. Materializing the metaphorical idiomatic expression of “the elephant in the room,” Susan makes tangible in her story subtle and dangerous sufferings too shocking to be faced.

Inspired by a postcard depicting a drunkard and a pink elephant, Susan continued to elaborate on this metaphor, often used to indicate states of drunken hallucinations, as it happens with Jack London’s pink elephants or the ones in the Dumbo Disney cartoon. Her style, at times ironic and grotesque, resembles a children’s fairy tale. This makes it powerful: Susan’s writing is simple and curious but deals with stomach-punching issues. The sense of estrangement is strong, and it is created by the clash of an almost naïve character, such as the pink elephant, and the abstract and burdensome concept it represents.

Although Susan calls herself an essayist, her story is strongly emotional without ever being explicitly tragic. The writer grasps the fun challenge of the writing game, but one senses that it springs from a deep need. Her short stories echo the fluidity and emotionality of American novelist Wally Lamb. The symbolic weight of this story joins an established literary tradition, which often sees, starting with fairy tales, animals as bearers of allegories and abstract concepts. Recall Franz Kafka’s cockroach, a symbol of alienation and social stigma, or the fierce whale of Moby Dick, a metaphor for the struggle between good and evil. In The Room, the pink elephant is the symbol of defeat. It makes the reader feel frustrated and angry, like when you realize too late that you could have helped someone in pain.

Susan Nickerson was born and raised in Salem (Massachusetts, US) and currently lives in Florida. Her short stories have been published in several magazines and were awarded in Writers-Editors International Writing Competition.

Susan Nickerson is the Gold Writer of the ArtAscent Abstract call for writers. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue.

Silver Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Carole Holmes

Silver Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Through her artwork, Carole Holmes leads the viewer into a shifted sense of self. Her paintings create fluid motions between the present and the wonders of letting oneself go into a bath of warming colours.

Carole is never shy to experiment with and explore new forms of creating and connecting with new styles. Her abstract work results in mixed textures and materials, redefining her style and landing in “newly evolved abstractions,” as she explains. We can witness this readiness for new realms of creating in her latest work, Luma, Fleur Delicat, Vigueur, Blush, and Aqua Blue.

Her techniques for these pieces focus on using different- sized brushes, stamps and sponges and mixing acrylic paint with dried flowers, adding precious fragility and elegance to her work. When viewing Luma, we feel at home and secure, rooted and centred with Fleur Delicat, and clear-minded and ready to explore with Vigueur. While Blush inspires the viewer to find calm within, Aqua Blue evokes a feeling of fluent stability.

Carole’s pieces are artistically rounded off with floating and custom-made frames, allowing the paintings an autonomous existence and a way of standing on their own “feet.” They invite each observer to rest from the ordinaries of daily life and muster the curiosity of a child’s eye, taking in the world fresh and without judgment.

Her work is rooted in abstract interpretations and is an easy link to the Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky. Both dive into the fantasy of shapes and forms and let their art be moulded by a seemingly moving arrangement of clear structures. A blending of clarity and softness creates a canvas for the audience to let their eyes be entranced by the different hues and lights—in Carole’s case, led into a bed of abstractions. This intriguing combination of precise forms and drifting sensations of colour and shadow allows the viewer to experience the creative process as an experience shared by the artist and the audience. It is rooted in the abstractions of lived experience, happening at different times but in the same reality.

Carole Holmes is an Australian-based artist who is deeply inspired by nature and takes in viewpoints during hikes. Her broad interests include creating landscapes and seascapes, as well as her current abstract works. Carole’s career expands to dental and interior decorator, and her work has been exhibited in Art Walk 2020.

Carole Holmes is the Silver Artist of the ArtAscent Abstract call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue.

www.artisticcreationsbycaroleholmes.com

Bronze Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Ted A Gillespie

Bronze Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Abstract art has caused many discussions on the criteria of art’s evaluation and the issue of its commodification. Thus, the phenomenon of collecting art as a practice of contemporary consumeristic society drew the attention of the painter Ted A Gillespie.

Despite an avalanche-like development of digital commodities, the consumption mentality is still neatly tied to the material scope of an object, as we expect it to possess specific dimensions, volume and surface quality. That’s why, for the last 70 years, much of the art world has resisted the depersonalized commodification of art. A few strategies have served that purpose, from dematerializing art via performative practices to using degradable substances or unconventional materials.

For his series Consumption, along with the mediums that are acknowledged as professional (e.g., acrylic paint and pastel), Ted has used materials that he characterizes as “discarded” and “overlooked”: coloured pencil, chalk, house paint, and spray paint. For sure, this transparent gesture is directly connected with the idea of sustainability and fighting against the constantly present urge to buy and consume, translated by contemporary society. One can think of the parallels with Robert Rauschenberg’s or Franz Kline’s compositions, made with commercial house paint, or Anselm Kiefer’s experiments with mixing oil, photography and sand.

However, the lush visuality attracts Ted to working with those materials in the first place. The artist describes his process in the series as “mass on top of mass,” as he applied up to 10 layers of pigments over the base. The surface of the featured pieces seems intertwined with splashes and thread-like strokes of paint that create a sense of softness and depth. This effect is amplified with the elaborated palette, where the profound black background accompanies the delicate colours. The artist doesn’t attempt to control the outcome while working on a piece. He appreciates entering the dialogue with the material, in which the latter isn’t a subject, but a partner, with its own character and dynamics.

Ted A Gillespie is a visual artist based in St Louis, Missouri, U.S. Born in 1957 in Hammond, Indiana, USA, he graduated from the American Academy of Art, where he studied watercolour under Irving Shapiro, and the Art Institute of Ft Lauderdale. He also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Naturology from the American Institute of Holistic Theology. His paintings have been purchased for private collections across the U.S., from North Carolina to California. Besides being a painter, Ted is also an activist, advocating for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases.

Ted A Gillespie is the Bronze Artist of the ArtAscent Abstract call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue.

www.tedagillespie.art

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Ashley Alexandra

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

hsupernormal

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Stephan Crawford

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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http://sc2arts.com

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Victoria Opomu

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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www.vatelierstudio.co.uk

Distinguished Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Equation: A Conversation


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Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Su Ai

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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https://www.suaiart.com

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Alba Jiménez

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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https://albajimnic.wixsite.com/website

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Jeff Smudde

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Alison Lake

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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www.alisonlake.photography

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Kathy Blankley Roman

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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https://www.KBRomanArt.com

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

WEI

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Mary Anne Zammit

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Austin J Smith

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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Distinguished Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Lura Butler

When The Music Fades

He’s lost it, but what he doesn’t realize is that he has taken it away from me too. He used to enjoy me. Not that I am, or ever was, anything special, but he enjoyed seeing me happy. Doing this is what makes me happy. I take that back. I’m not sure if it actually makes me happy or if I do it because I’m happy…

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Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Roopa Dudley

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

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www.RoopaDudley.com

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Vasu Tolia

Distinguished Artist of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Abstract call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Abstract issue.

www.vasutolia.com