Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Samara Ash

The Untitled Ones IV, 2008

Silver Gelatin Print

12 x 18 in.



how are you Samara


ASH: I'm well thanks


GUERRIER: right, how do we begin?


ASH: I'm not too sure about how it goes


have you had these conversations before?


GUERRIER: yes with Olivia


she mentioned that the subject of your works is very intriguing


ASH: As I look back... my work correlates with my exploration about spirituality


My own spirituality


GUERRIER: why the distinction "my own"?


ASH: As I began questioning who we follow in various aspects of life...


GUERRIER: do we humans engage spirituality similarly?


ASH: I see a desire to worship as the common thread


Either some worship concepts or ideologies... or money


GUERRIER: do you practice a religion?


ASH: I do now


GUERRIER: which?


ASH: I follow the bible... Christianity.


I began my series almost 9 years ago...


I began by creating idols and deities



Samara Ash

Zalus, 2008

Mixed media installation with pencil-drawing and fabric.

16 ft.

GUERRIER: but you didn't before?


ASH: Yeah... I didn’t before....


GUERRIER: did your art practice move you towards practicing a religion?


ASH: I think my search for enlightenment led me to question spirituality through art


My works became commentary on those ideas/objects we follow or venerate...


bow down to...


I found along the way that man has a habit of trying to add meaning to things even if they don’t offer what we think they can provide


this is when the term idolatry came into my series as a theme


not only as a term to be applied to religion.


It was a commentary to the blind adoration of money... power,


GUERRIER: idolatry is tricky to talk about


it usually exist with hierarchies




ASH: Idols can also be concepts


GUERRIER: i understand


ASH: Our reverence to role models ... to possession ... or to ourselves


For a while I looked into how buildings where worshiped in the 12th century


A part of my series focused on Gothic architecture...


Romanesque Cathedrals were intensely modified in order to make the devout feel as if this was the actual house of God


These changes in the structure of the building led to Gothic Cathedrals... bright, godly...


Tall, immense... making those who came in small


GUERRIER: have you looked into how people have worshiped outside the European Christian traditions?


and how the language used may hint to notions of space, objects and rituals


ASH: Yes, I have ...


made a couple of works regarding the subject, but wished to draw away from the religious


GUERRIER: i think it is difficult to make meaningful works about spirituality



ASH: This is part of my research regarding text and adoration of idols outside of Christianity



Samara Ash

Prayer to Lakshmi, 2012

Text on Panel

96 x 72 in.


GUERRIER: and so the works tend to be about someone on their spiritual journey


ASH: or a conversation about our desire to place meaning into things


GUERRIER: that may be easier


we have a history of placing meaning in things


like words, sounds, colors


are linked to meaning


ASH: i think ultimately... i wish for all of us to questions those meaning that either we or others have given to things


GUERRIER: for example, piece of paper with an image of dead prez and the number 5


is $5


why question?


what are we looking for?


ASH: I feel that following blindly is a obstacle to creativity and enlightenment


GUERRIER: yes, follow blindly is not recommended


ASH: The process of questioning is very important... maybe more important then the actual answers.


GUERRIER: but what level of engagement amount to not-being-blind


ASH: I don’t follow


GUERRIER: that is philosophy


love of learning


i think you may be right, in that to know fully amounts to a more complete view of the us and spirituality


i guess that is the broad aim of religion


then, how can art help?


ASH: By hopefully triggering self analysis...


What do we devout our time to?


Is that in which we focus... giving back?  Either mentally, educationally... does it unify or create confusion


Self analysis seems to become scarce... the common consensus is that one must act and nurture the feeling, thus, acting on it


But, a very crucial aspect is to analyze compare... learn from our actions and their repercussions on ourselves, on others, on our well being


GUERRIER: i am not sure it is common consensus


is self analysis necessary?


ASH: ok... maybe a social...


im looking for the word


GUERRIER: social analysis?


ASH: social stimulus...


GUERRIER: but why? spirituality is personally practiced


one have to be good to the world


the world can be less than good to us


but one still have to be good


ASH: Spirituality can also be a fad






i mean there are trend and social fads


but spirituality, religion, art are all beyond that


ASH: An example ... meditation... yoga


I believe people have varying definitions for spirituality


GUERRIER: yoga is exercise and business in the west


ASH: agreed


GUERRIER: i don't know meditation as a trend


but it is useful to think


even most casually


ASH: Its an in-depth subject...but as we look through history certain spiritual practices had to be applied to ones life in order to follow those ruling a nation during a particular period


GUERRIER: i think trends tend to be the surface of real gestures and movement


ASH: I believe a lot of trends are dictated by the market


GUERRIER: manipulated


dictated by something larger


ASH: Agreed.  I believe the trend is now to follow hybrid spirituality... a mix and match of various ideologies


GUERRIER: a zeitgeist


ASH: A combination of things that suit you as an individual.


GUERRIER: i would not know. and generally don't care.


but i do care about humans needs for fulfillment


ideas and their exploration often can get us to place of fulfillment


ASH: I guess my goal is to create work that at some level triggers


questions on what we follow day to day


GUERRIER: i used to think human endeavors may have spiritual limits


ASH: What do you think now?


GUERRIER: i think words like paths and journeys indicate longer engagement in one's endeavors


ASH: Engagement... beautiful word


GUERRIER: philosophy or theological teachings tend to align with the longer view on knowledge, its acquisition and its use in our everyday


ASH: Analysis propagates engagement