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Online OnlyApr 01, 2023

Alejandra Cuadra and Ashley Page Present Artistic Journeys That Intertwine

Two artists and friends explore belonging through the material and ethereal at Fountain Street Gallery.

Review by Karolina Hac

A swirling sculpture featuring the black form of an individual head arises in Fountain Street Gallery's space.

Ashley Page, Small Pieces of a Greater Whole, 2023. Installation view, "Earthly Bound," Fountain Street Gallery, 2023. Photo courtesy Fountain Street Gallery.

The work in “Earthly Bound” occupies two realms: one, as the exhibition name suggests, is connected to the earth primarily through material—shells, leaves, straw, dirt, pearls; the other is immaterial, almost ethereal, encompassing works that look like they might become airborne any minute. The most poignant of the works on display by artists Alejandra Cuadra and Ashley Page embody a little of each realm to create mesmerizing juxtapositions. Upon entering the space, you can’t help but gravitate towards Page’s Small Pieces of a Greater Whole: Origin and Cuadra’s Weaving Together a Home, two figural sculptures that face each other in dialogue. Both use raffia in a way that creates a nest for the figure, but Page’s Small Pieces is reminiscent of a spiritual form, ready to ascend with pearls in tow, while Cuadra’s Weaving Together looks as if the figure is in the process of emerging from a marshy field, lifting herself out of the earth itself. Standing between them, there is a sense that you might be interrupting a conversation.

Alejandra Cuadra, Weaving Together a Home, 2023. Installation view, “Earthly Bound,” Fountain Street Gallery, 2023. Photo by Karolina Hác.

There are also quieter moments, including a wall-mounted triptych of paper and ink forms by Page gently fluttering as if about to float away. Page’s paper works display a mastery of engaging with these delicate, finicky objects. For Cuadra, the material and immaterial mingle in nearly all of her works on display; her Rosas de Memorias, Momentos de Esperanza, includes materials like “high-fired stoneware” as well as “moments of slowing down and reflection, rituals of making, holding onto memories tight,” revealing a link between the physical act of making and the more affective aspects of her practice.

When the artists collaborate, such as on pieces like Reflection, which blends Cuadra’s ceramics with Page’s wire and handmade abaca paper, the results are enchanting. A close look at these sinuous, bark-like forms reveals watchful eyes nestled within wire and paper cocoons, recalling an introspective self. In spite of, or perhaps in addition to, these instances of reflection, the figural forms in the exhibition all gesture outside of themselves, projecting an air of assurance and optimism. Cuadra’s Esperanza, Sol, Milagro—three clay female busts rooted into what the artist calls “Earth’s soil”—look upward and outward, engaging beyond the viewer to a higher plane. The friendship and collaboration between these two artists is evident in the strong ties between these two bodies of work. They also share a spirit of an authentic exploration of the self—there is a sense that these two artists search for themselves in their practice, and we are invited to explore the intricacies and delicacies of their parallel journeys.


Earthly Bound” is on view at Fountain Street Gallery through April 2, 2023.

 

A black and white drawing of Karolina Hac, a woman with wavy shoulder-length hair, smiling at the viewer.

Karolina Hac

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