Margaret Ashman

Investigating Dance, Sign Dance and Sign Language

Margaret Ashman typically creates photo etchings starting with photographs of deaf models signing or performing sign dance. Her practice stems from the notion that signing and gesture have a particular resonance because of their origins as the roots of language. Sometimes language is embedded in the artwork by giving the model a text, often of religious origin, to sign. The work centres around emotional and spiritual issues such as transformation and transcendence.

Ashman’s latest series of works pushes her practice into a new but related area of ballet dance. Ballet incorporates gesture as mime in order to convey meaning to the audience about the story being danced. While mimes are modelled depending on the particular ballet, there are universal basic gestures that remain the same. There are specific gestures for love, anger, sadness, remembering, beauty, seeing, stopping, sleeping, death, marriage amongst others.

Ashman has work in the following collections

  • The Guangdong Museum of Art, China, Penang State Museum, Malaysia
  • Museum of Graphic Art, Split, Croatia, Shenzhen University, China
  • Guanlan Print Base, China, The Americas Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Prints, Iowa, USA, International Print Triennial Society, Krakow, Poland
  • Whangarei Art Museum, New Zealand, Art at Wharepuke, New Zealand
  • University of Hertfordshire, Kent Print Collection, Kent University, The Ashmolean Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Lovells Law Firm
  • Citigroup, Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells, Arts Therapies Centre, Willesden