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Eggs, Legs, and Periods: Ashley DuRard on the Raw Beauty of Womanhood cover

Eggs, Legs, and Periods: Ashley DuRard on the Raw Beauty of Womanhood

During breakfast an unfertilized egg escapes, slips, sloshes over the side of a spoon. In Ashley DuRard’s work the uncooked egg drips down a thigh into a puddle of blood on the floor. “My work is exploring the unconventional beauty and sensuality of women and the female form,” explains Ashley, who created her Eggs and Legs series with a delicate blend of graphite and runny acrylic paint.

Inspired by personal experiences, the Phoenix-based artist explores the female body by focusing on the three primal matters we associate with womanhood: rich yellow for egg yolk, clotted crimson for menstrual blood, and cloudy white as a metaphor for milk. “[My] goal is to create works of art that challenge what is conventionally beautiful,” Ashley writes in her artist statement. “I use eggs and fruits as the connection to femininity and female sexuality. Focusing on how the legs and feet are viewed is a way of challenging what is conventionally beautiful.”

‘Balancing Act’

Squatting, standing knock-kneed, sitting on the toilet with shopworn undies slung around their ankles—the women in Ashley’s work are relatable, awkward, and exquisitely beautiful, rendered with soft, dissipating lines and tender brushstrokes that fade into the ether. Reminiscent of Degas’ willowy charcoal studies at the Paris Ballet, Eggs and Legs brings the sensual body into focus, allowing bare limbs to gently sink under clouds of paint, only to have them rudely resurface in weighty, insistent lines.

Guided around the contours of the female body as if by memory, Ashley creates a mind-body map, plotted with the lasting emotional impressions of pain, pleasure, ambivalence, and embarrassment. While every female-identifying viewer undoubtedly has a different map, reddened by agonies and brightened by ecstasies in their own particular places, Ashley’s original diagram remains universal in its vulnerability.

“[My] goal is to create works of art that challenge what is conventionally beautiful.” — Ashley DuRard

‘Stained’
Inspired by personal experiences, Phoenix-based painter Ashley DuRard explores pain, sensuality, and the unconventional beauty she sees in the female form.
‘Fidget’
‘Lady-Like’
‘Peach Pit’
‘In the Air’
Inspired by personal experiences, Phoenix-based painter Ashley DuRard explores pain, sensuality, and the unconventional beauty she sees in the female form.
‘One Cracked Egg’
Inspired by personal experiences, Phoenix-based painter Ashley DuRard explores pain, sensuality, and the unconventional beauty she sees in the female form.
‘The Way She Sits’
Inspired by personal experiences, Phoenix-based painter Ashley DuRard explores pain, sensuality, and the unconventional beauty she sees in the female form.
‘Under Pressure’

Ashley DuRard: Website | Instagram

All photos published with permission of the artist(s).

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.

Morgan  Laurens 

Morgan Laurens is an arts writer who lives in the Midwest and enjoys saying "excuse me" when no actual pardon is needed. She is the founder of So Long See You Tomorrow, an organization that helps artists and creative entrepreneurs write about their work, craft a story, and get back in the studio. Learn more at: https://solongseeyoutomorrow.com

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