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Margaret Ashman

I am a fine artist specialising in Printmaking. My work is concerned with sign language, gesture and dance, based on models performing in the studio.

Margaret’s work is an enquiry into the emotional side of human relationships and the inner, spiritual dimension of living. She makes works that engage, sometimes to elicit a dramatic, visceral, emotional reaction, sometimes to provoke in a gentler, more thoughtful way. She works from photographs of Deaf people using sign language. She is interested in the way that meaning becomes lost as words are translated into sign and then into a still image on paper. Sometimes she gives her models texts to sign, or simply allows them to communicate as they wish. The deficiency of trying to capture time based signs with still photography results in communication ambiguity if not total breakdown. Some of her works are life size images of people, caught mid- frame, in the extremes of emotion. Digital photography can capture micro-expressions – very short-lived facial expressions, normally hidden, which may appear to show the opposite emotion that the person is feeling. These works are dark and dramatic but as you get closer to them, the image becomes more ambiguous then breaks up and almost disappears. Other works feature groups of people signing or combined images of Deaf people with imagined elements such as flowers. They are a visualisation of the spiritual, inner realm.. This work is about consciousness and unconsciousness, about the self and our image of ourselves.


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