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Ash Dahlke

Ash is a mixed media artist and educator currently working in Bisbee, AZ. She received her Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Arizona in 2019 and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2015. Her work has been exhibited at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, and Tubac Center of the Arts. She currently serves as the 2D Art Instructor at Cochise College and serves on the Board of Border Arts Corridor, a local arts organization in Douglas, AZ and Auga Prieta, SON.

Making Do

The idea for Making-Do was formulated visually years ago while I was out taking my dog on a walk. That night, the moon was only a sliver and the neighborhood was blanketed with the calm of a summer night. The light of a streetlamp a few blocks behind me popped on for a moment and caught the reflective tape on a structure in a roundabout which became the only thing illuminated on the street. This moment of awareness was the catalyst for this site-specific work. 

Another aspect of this work is the way it continues to evolve. Constructed out of natural materials from the Land With No Name, fibers, rope, and paint that will continue to fray, deteriorate, and fade, I will continue to go to the land to visibly mend the sculpture each time I visit and encourage visitors to add plant debris from the land during their time at the land. This act of visibly mending sprouts from the labor involved in taking care of the objects you own instead of mindlessly throwing them away after a specific component breaks. Coming from a family who has hoarding tendencies, this sensationalized behavior is sometimes stemmed from not only an appreciation of objects and their relation to personal history but the fear of wasting something that could have a future use. Maintaining the sculpture visually will be a record of its history. 

Knowing I was creating what I’ve been calling sky drawings, I knew I wanted the sculpture to be in conversation with the ocotillo out on the land that form their own kinds of drawings in space. I also chose a site that would allow the audience to interact with the sculpture from above and below, allowing the edges of the sculpture to function as frames for the natural environment.