One of the distinguishing features of Chris Ashley's project Some Walls is that it's not located in a gallery, but Ashley's Oakland home. Also special is the fact that when you make an appointment, he provides charming, fail-proof instructions not only on how to get there fast, but where to eat on the nifty Boulevard nearby, which looks like it hasn't been touched since the early 1960's.
After you make your way past a red Subaru, Ashley, an affable, engaging educator and artist, invites you into an unconventional, storybook home filled with books and art. More than happy to discuss not just the work on display but history, literature, or anything else on your mind, Ashley has, with Some Walls, created the antithesis of an art fair.
Begun in 2009, Some Walls is mainly international in focus and produces four to six solo shows a year. Each exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly paper and documented on-line at www.somewalls.com. For Eve Aschheim: Drawings and Photograms, Ashley's essay elegantly translates the formal aspects of Aschheim's work before offering a thoughtful analysis of how her drawings move toward realism, and her photograms, toward abstraction.
A New York City resident and senior lecturer at Princeton, Aschheim has significant roots in the Bay Area. Educated by local legends Elmer Bischoff, Robert Hartman and Squeak Carnwath--to name only a few--she received her BA and MFA at Berkeley and Davis, respectively, during the 80's, when students were encouraged to keep their mind on their practice, fine-tune their perceptual skills, and disregard marketplace trends.
This is my first in-person experience with Aschheim's current work. I'm extremely grateful that Ashley has brought it to the Bay Area, for this is art that radiates the presence of the hand of its maker, with tone best conveyed in the physical world.