Untitled (Personal Tabloid) is a new series of paintings that articulate and compare specific events from my history with particular circumstances in the individual accounts of notable artists. Through the use of text, these works create self-exposing, one-liners that echo newspaper headlines, tabloid journalism and the myriad of clickbait headlines ricocheting across the internet. Each painting time stamps a particular time and place within the personal narratives that I have constructed as well as those of notable artists, as well as noting subtle traces of socio-political history and context.
The text often arrives as some kind of tumbling real world manifestation of an internal dialogue, an ongoing private discussion centered on success, disappointments, belief and doubt.
Ashlee Laing is interested in the politics of belonging and in finding new ways to challenge existing social borders and cultural boundaries. A central concern of Laing’s work is a personal response to dominant authorities and cultures that contradict his ideal of an inclusively diverse society, one that respects not only fundamental rights and freedoms but also the social, cultural and sexual identities of individuals. Laing’s art is instantaneous, direct and without apology. Primarily known for his photographic and video installations, Laing also paints, draws, stages performances and invites public participation in his work. At times humorous and at times confronting, Laing elicits responses from his viewers. By encouraging the audience to engage with politically loaded topics, he creates dynamic spaces open to dialogues. Laing’s artistic practice provides a powerful and often challenging commentary on what it means to look for a safe place to belong within contemporary society.