Arts+Leisure is pleased to present I Want to Break Free, an installation of new work by Ash Ferlito. The show’s title comes from the Queen song of the same name. It is one of a few songs stuck in her head since the summer, picked up during her DNA residency in Provincetown, MA, where this series began.
I Want to Break Free operates as a kind of affirmation anthem. It’s the mood conveyed in Strawberry, a fruity stained tongue on raw canvas or in Truth, a sculpted yellow, red and black-banded snake. Zipped tongue and slippery snake belie a desire for openness and communication. These works reflect a broad range of influence—Ferlito rummages through popular culture, music and craft traditions—and in combining materials and styles, she accesses new truths and freedoms.
Synthesizing thoughts and feelings with imagery is a way to slow the spinning of wheels. Eva, a brushy black field with disappearing glowing green arches, is a pattern from a dress given to her by an elusive hard crush and an opportunity for Ferlito to reflect on relationship dynamics and the nature of love. Taking patterns and details from fabric and costumes of friends, family, fictional characters and performers, Ferlito develops a new visual language that’s underpinned by personal, yet open, narratives.
Frankenstein is painted leather bearing a geometric tree-like design composed with zippers, a motif that started off on the chest of David Carradine’s character in the science fiction movie Death Race 2000. While in basis the object may allude to a larger message of future, dystopian psychologies and contemporary societal sickness, as viewers, we luxuriate in the scenic and material pleasure of the costume. In other words, everything in I Want to Break Free has a story, but you are free to make up your own.
Ash Ferlito (b. 1979, San Bernardino, CA) lives and work in NYC. She is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art, Yale University and is a member of the Skowhegan Class of 2012. In 2015 she completed the DNA Residency in Provincetown, MA. She has also been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Cyprus College of Art. In 2014 she was a teaching artist in residence at UNLV.