Ashley Macomber

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What Is My Work About? 

My work is about women, specifically how sexuality, gender, and violence are experienced and represented in society. Through highly rendered watercolors from S&M pornography, I manipulate scale, size, composition and color to make purposely beautiful abstracted images. The paintings are investigations into my own confusing feelings about female sexuality and power. The work is not a declaration of any one point but an exploratory mission into the murky layers and dualities that exist in being a woman in America.

Artist Statement

Women today are the most equal they have ever been, but there is a seedy dark side that seems to coincide with this equality. Violence towards women from men is at astronomical numbers, the standards of beauty continue to skew into these unrealistic places where our own eyelashes are no longer acceptable and we must glue fake ones onto our faces. Los Angeles is a place that celebrates this darkness and vapid superficiality like no other city in America.

The extremely bizarre standards and behaviors that float throughout this city about sexuality and gender roles permeate to the core of its identity. It’s hard for me to reconcile the equality and freedom that exists with the murky subtext of repression that follows seems intertwined. I participate in the darkness and I am subject to its sway. I don’t think I am alone and that complexity keeps these issues on the forefront of my mind.

I have been working with bondage pornography lately specifically Hustler Taboo magazines that I nervously purchased at a magazine stand. I find myself attracted to specific photo shoots and I often work with the same image or models over and over.  The binding of the woman is important to the images I choose, but I stay away from genitalia or obvious representations of intercourse. Control and dominance is what I focus on because as hardcore as the source material is, the paintings are meant to be beautiful and ambiguous and the impression of control and dominance is more important to me than the sex.

I am currently working with one specific image and manipulating it to make a series that will function as a show. I do a lot of the manipulation in the computer and with a Xerox before translating that to the painted surface. With this new body of work I am painting the source material straight, turning that into a print and then painting on top of it and deconstructing the physical paper to remake the image.

I am not entirely sure what the goal is of the finished work, there isn’t any particular concept or belief system that I hope the viewer gets.   I can’t control what people see when they look at my work (I have people say the craziest most inappropriate things to me since I started working with this material) and it has stopped being something I can care about without losing my footing.   I think my work is more about a journey for me, hoping along the way to gain some understanding and as a bonus connect to other people I respect.

Ashley Macomber




2000   Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island




“Afternoon”, Family books, Los Angeles, CA


“Bluejean Biology”, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

“Untitled”, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City


“The Clearing”, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago , IL


“In Your Eyes”, New Image Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA




“Wild Thing”, SeeLine Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

“About Face”, Acme Gallery, curated by Daniel Weinberg Gallery and Acme, Los Angeles, CA

“Tonight We Won’t Be Bored, 10 Years of V1 Gallery”, V-1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

“High Five”, New Image Art, Los Angeles CA

“Portrait of a Generation”, June 7- August 10, The Hole, New York, NY


“Manifest Equality”, Los Angeles CA


“Wall to Wall”, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles CA

“This presents these friends”, This gallery, Los Angeles CA

“Album”, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen

“Oneshot”, Werkstette, Denmark


“Panorama Project 3”, Jonathon Levine Gallery, New York NY

“Pressure”, VASF, San Francisco, Ca


“Those Bloody Yanks” Leonard Street Gallery, London, England

“Cabinet of Curiosities”, The Journal gallery, Williamsburg, NY

“Five People Share Thoughts, People Respond?”, AntiSocial Gallery, Vancouver, BC


“Vous Ete Ici”, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“Panic Room”, Deste Foundation Center for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece


“Little Odysseys”, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY

“Sugartown”, Elizabeth Dee Gallery,New York NY

“Move 13”, Clementine Gallery, New York NY


“Bambi Effect”, Savage Art Resources, Portland

“Hot for Teacher”, Camp Fig, Austin, TX

“For Animals For People”, Space 1026, Philadelphia, PA

“Catholic”, Rocket Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

“Dreamland Artists Club”, Creative Time, Coney Island, NY

“Majority Whip”, White Box, New York, NY

“Solo Show, Solo Soul”, Vedanta Gallery, Chicago Il

“Good World”, in conjunction with Beautiful Losers , Publico Gallery, Cincinatti,OH

“The First Day of Spring”, New Image Art Gallery, Los Angeles,CA

“The Hunt for Your Family”, V-1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

“Five Dudes II”, Camp Fig, Austin, TX


“Heavy Book Launch”, Collette, Paris, France; Agnes B, Los Angeles, CA; Alife, NY

“The Hello Show”, Treehouse Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

“Made in LA”, Nike House, Venice, CA

“Move 9: Lead Poisoning”, New Image Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

“Crazy Bastard”, New Image Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

“Three Stories”, Director’s Bureau, Los Angeles, CA


Rocket Gallery, Tokyo, Japan


“Alleged at 1026”, Space 1026, Philadelphia, PA

“Sunshine”, Alleged Galleries, New York



Juxtapoz, February 2013

Afternoon, Ashley Macomber and Bonnie Prince Billy, Black Tent Press

Milk and Honey, Contemporary Art in California, Ammo Books

Juztapoz magazine, January 2012

We are what we are not, zine, published by Dynasty

Art News, Artistic Cycles issue, September 2008

ANP Quarterly Issue 9

Tokion Revisionaries book

I Heart Darkness, interviews by Natascha Snellman

Tokion, God Bless America June 2006

Schwabsky, Barry, Art Forum, Group show Panic Room, 2006

Wisneski, Jaymie, Tokion Magazine, King of Art, Jan/Feb, 2005

Sholis, Brian,, Critics Pick Solo Show/Solo Soul, July 2004

Wives CD Cover

Songs of Hurt and Healing CD Cover

Loyal Magazine number 5

Loyal Magazine number 6

Broken Wrist Project

Heavy 2 Book Project

Anthem Magazine


Lemon Magazine

Foam Magazine



Undefeated Billboard Project, LA

Coney Island, Creative Time, NY