I would like to thank Nuria and Pau for giving me the opportunity to exhibit at Sala Ramona. I fell in love with this venue when I visited here last year, and Nuria and I hatched a plan to make this artist exchange between Barcelona and Glasgow.
My work has an emotional basis. I wanted to make something current which also somehow linked our own environments. For Scotland the thing uppermost in our hearts and minds is the forthcoming Referendum in September: a vote for Independence from the United Kingdom after 300 years together. I am voting for this chance for Independence and most of my friends and family feel the same. I became aware of a similar yearning in Catalonians last time I visited. So “Scotland as a Queen” and “Catalonia as a Queen” were born.
“Courtship with the Lender of the Last Resort” refers to the principal strong arm tactic that the Government of Westminster has used to quell the YES vote; that the Bank of England will not allow us to use pounds sterling unless we remain in the union. The bank notes I selected all bare the faces of many of the world´s most powerful leaders past and present, a testament to how we are all ruled by money.
The mermaid screen prints are from a suite of work I made after I was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer after being clear for 12 years. The recurrence came just before I was due to be married and the treatment as always was hormonal. These treatments affect mood and sensuality and the timing seemed rough justice to find love and have your body ruled by life saving treatments which dull passion.
So I made the mermaids as the sirens who seek earthly love even though it will remain out of their reach.
The two smaller works are wish fulfillment emblems; searching for paradise, love and the freedom of travelling and living free.
I make most of my income through sales of my prints, but on this occasion I have made them very affordable. . . a piece of paper for a piece of paper.
Post script: I got married and the effects of the treatments subsided to a manageable level and the tumour has disappeared and I am here in Barcelona exhibiting my work. A happy ending… ?
Ashley Cook, Barcelona, June 2014