BEN ASHTON England, b. 1983

Ben Ashton is a master of subversion, employing fusing evolving technology and self-taught classical techniques to create work that is both beautiful and challenging. Inspired here by the "swagger portraits" of artists such as Thomas Lawrence, Ashton critiques the hypocrisy of contemporary political discourse and its weaponisation of nostalgia. His work emphasises the cyclical nature of history - by drawing on the aesthetics of the past, he finds an outlet for his anxiety over the events of the present day.
Reflecting on his oeuvre, Ashton sees it as a personal narrative, a visual chronicle of his life and the lives of those around him. He muses that a posthumous retrospective of his work would unveil his entire life journey through painting, witnessing the passage of time - “You'd see someone grow old” he says, adding of his love for the resilience of portraiture “it has a strange lineage; it's been a part of humanity's means of expression for centuries.