Ashley Edgerton Oates
retablo for Hart Mayretablo for Oatsie (No. 1)retablo for Oatsie (No. 3)retablo for the hookworm (Cheney)retablo for strong bonesRescued Dog #1023 (Tuscaloosa)Inept and Oppressive Regimes (W & w)
Retablo for Hannah (pin in leg)Retablo for R.R. (cluster of radioactive pills)Retablo for Tennessee rescue dog (in NY)
+ Some Retablos for America
Acts of injustice done
Between the setting and rising sun
In history lie like bones, each one.

W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood
The Ascent of F.6

For the past few years, retablos have held me captive. Although they are traditionally painted in thanks for a miracle or for assistance in surviving a catastrophe, I tend to use them to document, honor, transform and hold tight the many different heroic animals that have found their way to me. While some of my retablos offer thanks for the healing of a particular animal – others are eulogizing those who have passed or are dedicated to anonymous animals. Metaphorically, these animals, who are at times powerless to the whims of humans, represent many people…powerless to the unreliability of those in control.

The subjugation of the weak is a major focus of my retablos. Each with specific stories, these pieces request an intercession from us. They are asking each of us to take notice and act. Whether using photographic materials to record the animal’s presence or painting gouache on steel, I hope my work reinforces the inherent duality of the absence and presence of these animals.

exhibition winter 2005