Through taxidermy, printmaking, and graphite, Detroit-based artist Ashley Shaul explores what it means to be human. Having the ability to create life and beauty from something that has passed on, while using a referenced kintsugi technique to repair the existing damage for the cast off hides and roadkill utilized in the practice, allows a celebration of the flaws of each creature, using their bodies as a canvas for stories of nature and society’s strife and pleasure. Slightly erotic and transgressive in nature, the myth surrounding these creatures is cryptically laid out, up to the viewer to reconstruct. It is not calling for us to abandon what makes us human, but to simply to understand that our humanity is not a lofty perch above the rest of the natural world. The exposed figures offer a look at our repressed instincts, the animal sexuality inside us that we're forced to subdue. The sculptural work, by contrast, shows a more external conflict; the uneasy equilibrium between mankind and nature.
Shaul received her BA in 2012 focused in traditional Ilustration, printmaking, and art history from Columbia College Chicago, and her MFA in Print Media from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2014. Her home and studio, Gilded Coyote Press, was located in Chicago since 2008, where she lived, worked and taught until recently relocating back to Detroit in the fall of 2016. Shaul has received numerous awards for her work, including 3rd Place Best in Show at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Pieces of hers can be found in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and in various private collections throughout the US.