'Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks' exhibit opens at COD

  • Claire Ashley's "Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks" exhibit features small, inflatable sculptures.

    Claire Ashley's "Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks" exhibit features small, inflatable sculptures. Courtesy of Cleve Carney Art Gallery

By Alyssa Larkin
for the Cleve Carney Art Gallery
Posted1/30/2016 8:00 AM

A new art exhibit, "Claire Ashley: Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks," will open next week and run through March 19 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn as part of the school's Visiting Artist Series.

Widely regarded for her neon-splashed and unwieldy, blown-up forms, Ashley has created an original body of work for this exhibition that features numerous small inflatable sculptures painted in a gradated palette. Piled, stacked and squeezed in the space, the resulting bakery-­style display exists as a mangled conglomeration of rocks, breasts and buns, responsive to body and landscape.

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The exhibit is overseen by newly appointed gallery curator/director Justin Witte.

The exhibit, Witte said, "is an excellent example of how Ashley's ambitious sculptures defy expectation by balancing the monumental with the humorous and the abstract with the physical."

Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, and now residing in Oak Park, Ashley is an associate professor of contemporary practices at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received her master of fine arts degree. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues that include the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, Bahamas Biennale in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in Chicago.

The exhibit will open with a reception and dance performance from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at the Cleve Carney Art Gallery in the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn.

The reception is free. A Gallery Talk will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, and an Artist Lecture will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.


In 2013, a solo exhibition of her work entitled "frizzflopsqueezepop," was held at the Chicago Cultural Center. In conjunction with the exhibition, Ashley created the site-­specific performance, "Disco Dozen for Daley," where dancers performed submerged within an inflated sculpture in Daley Plaza.

Continuing her investigation into the relationship between painting, sculpture and performance, for "Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks" Ashley will also present a collaborative work with dancers from the Chicago area in the gallery space during the opening reception. Performing while partially or fully submerged within her sculptures, the dancers activate and extend the polarities inherent to the inflatable form and its bodily metaphors. The physical contrasts between inhale and exhale, tautness and wrinkles, strength and weakness are consistently explored in Ashley's work.

In addition to the opening reception, the exhibition may be viewed during regular gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Cleve Carney Art Gallery is also open one hour prior to MAC performances held in the Belushi Performance Hall and during intermission.

For details about the exhibitions and related special events, visit clevecarneygallery.org or call (630) 942-2321.