7/21/2011 - Ashtoreth has just been accepted into the international gallery at Art Addiction, www.artaddiction.net focusing on figurative art called 'Nude de Nude'. This honor puts her in the compamy of a group of talented artists from many countries, and will expose her work to UK and European collectors of contemporary art.
Art Addiction is the oldest online contemporary gallery on the web, and is based in London.
9/6/2011 - Ashtoreth is part of the Ars Femina gallery selections on Art Addiction. As with Nude de Nude, this represents an international collection of artists under a theme.
Ashtoreth is listed in the 2011 edition of the International Dictionary of Artists Vol. I published by World Wide Art Books. Visit www.wwab. us to learn more and order a copy. It is a stunning full color coffee table book showcasing an arresting diversity of artistic visions and expressions from artists practicing from all over the world.
(b. US) - Raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Ashtoreth has been drawn to aesthetics in many forms; the study of world myth, especially goddess cultures, mysticism, the language of symbols, and a plethora of other things. Art is a calling, but also a way of seeing the world. She was largely self-taught after early art classes, inspired by a life-long interest in art and art history. Ongoing studies into subjects such as psychology and archetypes has fed her artistic expressions. Ashtoreth's goal is to communicate the ideas of many words and to explore her thoughts and experiences through the language of the right brain, in the poetry of images. Often visual riddles layered with meaning and codes that hold the key to unlocking themselves, Ashtoreth's paintings can also be enjoyed for their pure aesthetic pleasure and vibrant design. They are classical and contemporary; ancient and modern.
The Heroine's Journey
The Heroine's Journey is something we all make as human beings, the descent into the underworld where we face death and transformation with the possibility of rebirth into new life. It is not one journey we take, but different ones at different times. One does not usually choose to go, but like the Greek goddess Persephone, one is more likely dragged there, or catapulted, unwillingly. The ground opens up, and then the road stretches out before you, dark and unfamiliar, rife with perils that can lead to a finality of destruction or a return if one meets the challenges with courage and persistence.
As in the shamanic journey, you do not return to your village unchanged. You are not the same, and there is no path back to where you were before. The road leads only forward. Even the people around you may look different. Your feet step out onto new earth. You hold your power in your hands. This is a human journey, but as I speak through the feminine vernacular, I reflect the human experience first through the feminine, which too often has been ignored and devalued.
I have always been fascinated by the concept of liminality. Liminality is the magic that happens at the edge of borders, at the nexus of dream and reality, consciousness and unconsciousness, for in fact that line is very thin. Having returned from the underworld, that door is ever open and beckons a return. There are some tellings of the Persephone myth where she chose to eat those six pomegranate seeds, so that she could return.
In her book 'Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement', the author Whitney Chadwick writes, "Internalizing the muse, women artists rejected the search for an idealized Other and interrogated the image in the mirror..." Art is a means to communicate in the language of the unconscious, through color, symbol, and archetype. Color is emotion. Texture is emotion; whether whispering pianissimo with a sheer glaze, or striking fortissimo with bold strokes and impasto laid down fast and furious with a knife. A picture says a thousand words, and becomes a mirror; first relative to the artist, and then for the ones who encounter it.
I define my paintings as visionary art. It is exqual parts raw emotions and contemplation. My paintings are spiritual, mystical, often alchemical; speaking in the languageof archetypes and the mytho-poetic, and of the mysteries of life, death, renewal and transformation.
My work has elements of fauvism, expressionism, and symbolism, but flows most naturally in the currents of women surrealist painters who also explored the landscape of the unconscious, the sacred feminine, and alchemical transformation through mytho-poetic allegories, and who sometimes used art as a way to express both emotional and physical pain of injustice and trauma, with rage as a light in the darkness and blood and tears as part of the medium in the palette. Even when our lips are sealed, art speaks, it screams.
Copyright 2007. Ashtoreth Valecourt. All rights reserved.
ARTSLANT SHOWCASE WINNERS
THE THINKING WOMAN - Showcase Winner
The Thinking Woman represents the dreaming creative woman. Shakti personified, her mind is in dynamic activity; absorbing, analyzing, synthesizing, dreaming, and preparing what she will manifest next. The golden snake bracelet she wears is a talisman identifying her with the sacred feminine.
THE POETICS OF SOUND - Showcase Winner
This expressionist work is a meditation on the gift of being able to hear. It expresses awareness and gratitude for the gifts of connection to the world of sound, and indeed to life itself. As a survivor of an acoustic neuroma I gave up the hearing nerve on the left side. What remains is strictly ornamental, like that of the lavender fairy who is at the center of the painting. So many people take their hearing for granted. I never did, but I am especially aware now. I began with a poetic fragment that came to my mind,
'The sound of the wind, the sound of the water, the sound of your voice.... music to my ears.'
It is my hope to raise awareness and funds for hearing research with this image. All proceeds from the original painting will go to the William Slattery Science Foundation of the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. Dr. Slattery gave me my life back. It is my hope to be able to give back, to inspire and put art in the service of science.