• scottbugher

"Beyond the deficiency of instant stimulation": an interview with Ashley Carlson

This month's featured artwork comes from Ashley Carlson. We're captivated by her use of color and the mood of her work. She recently took the time to share with us how her home state of Idaho has influenced her art and what's next for her:

The Crossing

How does place function in your work? How has it influenced you, and has that influence evolved over time?

The function of place within my work provides a setting for subject matter and an insight into my personal background and experiences. Often the places depicted in my work are from where I grew up, have traveled to, or places I no longer live in. They are recreated through memory, random google images and the use of my family's film photograph collection. There is definitely an aura of nostalgia with my work, which I think is what ultimately influences the places and interactions I depict.

The Crossing 2.0

Your bio mentions that your work depicts "often surreal" landscapes. How did you become interested in the surreal? What is the relationship between the surreal and the rural?

The surreal, in regards to the surrealist movement, always intrigued me. The striking imagery of surrealism was something to escape into; a dream like representation of reality. I think that the desolate and barren nature of Southern Idaho always left something to the imagination. There was a lack of anything bizarre or unexpected, and daydreaming was a way to transform the landscape. Essentially, the relationship between the surreal and the rural is based in the vast expanse of emptiness. It is created from within the viewer's ability to see beyond the deficiency of instant stimulation.


Can you talk about your interest in technology in rural spaces? What dynamics are you interested in exploring?

Technology within the rural setting is very ambiguous. Within the outdoor environment, there are infinite miles of pylons that stretch into the distance and disrupted land transformed into infrastructure; An attempt to grow the economy and population. I think that the most intriguing dynamic between rural isolation and technology resides within the emergence of the internet and the home PC. Because the "mainstream" is spawned out of urban epicenters, there is a disconnect from the rural places, where people are estranged from the fast paced stimulation of urban bombardment. The internet and home PC function as a link for the rural to the urban, the socio-cultural to the sparse and the unknown to the curious.

Hollister, ID 83301

What are you working on next?

Currently I am working on producing more work that is large scale. I find that working on small surfaces is restricting for my loose style. I also find that consistently working with the same materials becomes stifling, so I really enjoy experimenting with different materials. As of late, all of my work has been strictly oil on canvas, but I am developing new work consisting of mixed media on paper.


All images appear courtesy of Ashley Carlson. Learn more by visiting

29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The Fam Roundup: July 2019

We may have been on hiatus for the past month, but our contributors and editors sure haven't! Catch up what they've up to and catch up on their Split Lp work in our archives: Books! Check out the cove