Ken Ashton and Lily Cox-Richard at Civilian Art Projects

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OPENING: Friday, June 15, 2007, 7pm – 9pm
ON VIEW: June 15 – July 20, 2007

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Civilian Art Projects proudly presents two concurrent solo exhibitions: Ken Ashton’s Megalopolis and Lily Cox- Richard’s At Stake and Rider. Through distinct projects, Ashton and Cox-Richard consider the American landscape, national identity and mythologized America.

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Washington, D.C. based photographer Ken Ashton began Megalopolis in 1996 as a photographic exercise to document the cities and connecting towns along the East Coast. An evolving, work in progress, today Megalopolis is a project of thousands of images of a variety of focus that highlight the shadows and grit of the city specifically its boarded up store-fronts and buildings, fenced off properties and backyards, run-down neighborhoods, iconographic graffiti, and quirky human markings decorating the land. For the exhibition, Ashton distilled this project into twenty-six images. Illustrating Ken’s unique way of seeing, these images document the sameness of the city’s iconic landscape while taking the viewer on a journey into its uniqueness. The project, now entering its second decade, is an historic visual document marking the passing of time and place in America as witnessed in the travels of one man.

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Ken’s work can be found in private collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Corcoran Gallery of Art and George Washington University. His work has been featured in exhibitions at the Corcoran Museum; the Goethe-Institute; and Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, VA. Publications include Common Ground: Discovering Community in 150 Years of Art, Selections from the Collection of Julia J. Norrell Collection and Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 To The Present by Deborah Willis. Ashton is currently working on a book called Megalopolis.

An exhibition of photographers who have inspired Ashton’s work will be on view in Civilian’s office until July 20th. Artists included in this “Inspirers” exhibition include William Christenberry, Bruce Davidson, John Gossage and Ken Schles.

Lily Cox-Richard creates contemporary sculptural installations by mediating cultural material and folk traditions. According to the artist, her departure point for art making begins at the moment when commemoration begins to dwarf original experience. Projects have included hand cut linoleum floors based on aerial images of her family’s farm; a life-sized scrap book page for gallery visitors to walk into and be photographed; and a screen-painted dwelling created in homage to the East Baltimore folk tradition.

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In the gallery’s project space, Lily presents a sculptural installation based on the stake-and-rider fence, also known as the Virginia rail or zigzag fence. The installation commemorates an American invention that according to architectural historian Vanessa E. Patrick originated “in the Virginia colonies, and traveled west with the frontier. Composed of stacked, self-supporting rails, the stake-and-rider rail fence was perfectly suited to a land rich in timber and open space. It requires no joinery, nails, milling, or digging postholes. Easily built, these fences can be readily dismantled and reassembled elsewhere.” The fence, with a surface transformed with white plaster, green paint, mica and crushed glass, has been reconfigured from her candidacy exhibition into a thirty-five rail fence for the site at Civilian Art Projects.

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Lily’s work has been exhibited at the Archinofsky Gallery in Las Vegas, NV; the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN; Platteform Arts in Denver, CO; Southern Exposure in San Francisco, CA; McLean Project for the Arts in Virginia; Transformer in Washington, DC; and the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA. She received her BFA from the California College of Art and is pursuing her MFA in Sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Megalopolis and At Stake and Rider open on June 15, 2007 and will be on view until July 20, 2007. A public reception will be held for the artists on Friday, June 15th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Exhibition hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment. An essay by writer Casey Smith will accompany the exhibitions.

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