Ashley Zelinskie1

Making the impossible into a reality – Ashley’s daily bread

One of the best and most refreshing feelings is to stumble upon an artist who is not afraid to do things her own way. After visiting her studio during the Bushwick Open Studios, Ashley Zelinskie again confirmed that everything she does is very distinguishable from her Bushwick contemporaries.

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Ashley Zelinksie is probably best known to the Bushwick art crowd as a prodigy child who virtually days after graduation from RISD, while her peers were still looking for the entrance to the Morgan L, founded and became a gallery and studio program director at The Active Space. It seems that after over two years, the gallery is running smoothly; the building is filled with artists, Ashley finally found some extra time to create and show her own work in Bushwick.

In her studio, Ashley presented a series of delicate sculptures from her ongoing project, Reverse Abstraction, which has been fueled by her fascination by 3D printers and the possibility of making anything she possibly can imagine. In 2012, Ashley ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to obtain a 3D printer, and shortly after that became an artist in residence at Makerbot, which led to more opportunities to play with her new favorite tool.

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Abstract to a human, concrete to a computer

Reverse Abstraction sculptures are not only visually pleasing otherworldly sci-fi like creatures; they are also conceptually fascinating. According to Zelinskie, humans and computers perceive art on two opposite ends; what is abstract for a human is concrete for a computer and vice versa. Shapes perceived as beautiful by humans cannot be conceived by computers in their original form. Computers can only process these shapes as hexadecimal and binary codes that represent them. Ashley created sculptures that bridge this gap; they exist as a traditional shape and the code that represents them as well. This way both computers and humans can experience the same pleasure of viewing her art. Now the question is: Can a computer feel pleasure?

Ashely at the Rock Street opening wearing a hexagonal code dress.

Another piece from the Reverse Abstraction series, a laser-cut aluminum called The Financial Equation, was part of Rock Street, a sculpture group show, co-curated by Deborah Brown and Leslie Heller, on a privately owned Rock St. “The three lines of the triangle do not actually meet but create a three-dimensional illusion called Perth’s impossible triangle,” told us Zelinskie about the sculpture. According to Zelinskie, the sculpture is a commentary on the on the challenges young emerging artists face. “Many of us are forced to consider our financial circumstances without compromising the work,” she said. “The trouble with making art on a large-scale is funding. Big things have big price tags. To make this piece without a backer like the US government, I had to work on a budget,” Ashley explained the budgetary limitation that led to the creation of The Financial Equation.

BOS goers looking at The Finacial Equation.

“Ok, Glass”

Another toy seemingly inaccessible toy to a Bushwick artist that Ashley got her hands on is Google Glass. “I was chosen to be in their beta testing “Explorers” program through their #ifihadglass competition on Google+,” she explained. Ashley used the gadget during Bushwick Open Studios abundantly – to take pictures, record videos and live-tweet. On Sunday morning, she invited a bunch of people for a brunch and a demo of Google Glass in her studio.

Zelinskie is hoping to use Google Glass in her technology-driven art to create 3D models, and later 3D prints. “Imagine seeing the underlying code for real objects, while simultaneously manipulating those objects with both hands. Imagination is just the start. Sculpture meets technology, meets Glass,” read Ashley’s #ifihadglass submission.

And what about the plans of this extraordinary Bushwick artist for the near future? “This summer I will be working on my hexahedron that was commissioned by the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia, and I am exhibiting some of my 3D printed sculptures at the Bridges Math Convention to be held in Enschede, the Netherlands,” Ashley told us.