Exhibition dates:  August 27 – September 28, 2012
Artist's Reception:  Wednesday, August 29, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Discussion with Ashley Hagen at 7:15 p.m.

The Antelope Valley College Art Gallery is excited to open its 2012-2013 season with Deconstruction | Reconstruction, a solo exhibition by Ashley Hagen.  Her featured work, Sinister within the Sweet, outfits a tower of stacked pallets with meticulously crafted miniature interiors.  Despite the tower's unstable appearance, Sinister within the Sweet prompts close investigation and initiates a quiet, nostalgic experience. 

The work's rough, industrial structure creates an unsettling contradiction with its dollhouse-style remodel.  Delicately installed windows and doors, complete with tiny brick facades, span the palette planks.  Deeper inside, little staircases connect implied floors and minute staples of domestic life, such as wallpaper and appliances, denote a living presence. These slightly dilapidated miniature interiors signify both care and neglect. 

Sinister within the Sweet explores Ashley Hagen's aesthetic and conceptual inquiry into the illusion of “real” or human-scale space and the meaning of “home”.  She explains her work examines "the underlying resonance of childhood: limitlessness, inventiveness, mystery, imagination, adventure and possibility."  Sinister within the Sweet's dreamlike quality, stacked compartments, and difficult to reach spaces suggest the physical process of remembering.  We inhabit these worlds similarly to the way we seek to re-inhabit concepts of home and self.

In her studio, Hagen uses a variety of media "to explore the act of playing that has become an important process in uncovering the metaphors of home and self when fantasy meets reality", which includes painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography.  In Sinister within the Sweet, Hagen continues this cross-disciplinary process by imbedding the pallets with previous works of art.  Within each layer of the stacked pallets, Hagen reconstructs "traces of previous work in order to create mysterious worlds hidden within the darkness."  The palettes are literally stacks of compressed projects and memories.  To reveal this process, the exhibition includes photographs of the original works of art which, although reused or altered, still bear affinities to their earlier forms.

Last updated: September 11, 2015