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

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Samara Ash

The Untitled Ones IV, 2008

Silver Gelatin Print

12 x 18 in.

GUERRIER: hi

 

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

 

right?

 

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

 

GUERRIER: fad?

 

nah

 

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