Rachel Bride Ashton

Fine Art BA (Hons)

Multi-species interconnectedness, biophilia and feminine intuition come together in an ever-expanding field of film, sound, biomorphic sculpture and painting.

About

All my work could be considered explicit as it contains, nudity, birth imagery and bodily functions. I however, consider it to be wholesome, humorous and suitable for children.

Earth Compost Toilet

A chunky ceramic stool with a hole in the top, covered in mosaic-style handmade tiles. They are cream and hand-painted with bright coloured brush strokes. On the top is painted a red woman with long hair and animal feet, with her back to us, squatting and peeing on grass. Also painted on top is a yellow woman, with animal feet, tiger markings and a tail, who is grinning mischievously and defecating on grass. There is a large urn underneath, with pink handles.

Wood and white earthenware painted and glazed clay. Fully functioning ceramic, separation compost toilet (or urine diverting toilet) which celebrates reanimalisation, bacterial biodiversity and simultaneously challenges our flush-away, sterile, anthropocentric lifestyles. The design and handcrafted beauty of this dry earth toilet makes us fully responsible for our excretions, puts us in close contact with them and allows us to honour them as rich soil contributions instead of greenhouse gas producing waste. There is a short performance to camera installed inside the toilet in which I play the scientific curiosity of an animal-woman obsessed with her good bacteria.

Adult imagery

This work contains adult imagery. 

The Pussy Theatre

Multi-species interconnectedness, biophilia and feminine intuition come together in an ever-expanding field of film, sound, sculpture and painting. The multi-media installation is woven together with biomorphic tentacles of salvaged waste and borrowed earth materials. The work is produced through a cyclical, organic, multi-disciplinary creative process whereby 2D and 3D installation, performance and film generate characters, scenarios and microcosms.  I challenge our cultural de-animalisation and particularly the institution-controlled birth portrayal dominant in our onscreen culture while celebrating the 90% non-human part of us, our microbiome, formed at birth. In my short films, I play a hairy, animal-woman, celebrating good bacteria and its sources, who, though ridiculous, also embodies a deep melancholic longing for female body autonomy and a more sympathetic connection between the human and non-human. I have created a vivid, chaotic, utopian world where the visceral, intuitive beast-woman and her effluvia are raised up, thrust up, into the censored, phobic, Apollonian realm. She is put in a position of worship, like Baubo, the Vulvanic Goddess of Obscenity or an ancient Sheela-Na-Gig. Orgasmic and seeping, she defies our flush-away, sterile, medicated, anthropocentric lifestyles and honours our excretions as rich earth contributions processed by the busy agents of decomposition or Chthonic Ones.

Video still one of three - thin white woman in bikinis with conical breasts and long dark hair, bending at the knees, hands wide, dancing or walking.
Video still two of three - thin white woman in bikinis with conical breasts and long dark hair, bending at the knees, hands wide, dancing or walking.
Video still three of three - thin white woman in bikinis with conical breasts and long dark hair, bending at the knees, hands wide, dancing or walking.

Video stills from my short film ‘Orgasmic Birth’ which is installed inside a large paper mâché sculpture of a squatting headless female form suspended from the ceiling above human head height. She is the intuitive, deviant beast-woman but here she is uncensored, and her body is a portal to a visceral world which we must strain our necks to see. It is painful to look in the portal unless we become vulnerable and lie on our backs, only from this subversion of the passive position can we experience the magic inside. The film in the portal, ‘Orgasmic Birth’ viewed through her vulva, celebrates the taboo pleasures, intimacies and power of birth so lacking in our mainstream visual media. With some humour and melancholic undertones, the film explores active birth positions, censored imagery, and blurs the lines between pain and pleasure.

The Monstrous-Feminine

A big room with a big green circle on the floor in the foreground with a yellow circle around the outside and four multicoloured ceramic objects in the middle and round the edges. A cream-coloured beanbag is to the right and a large sprawling white sculpture with multicoloured tentacles protruding from it is in the middle of the room.

Room Installation – Mixed media.

A white sculpture made of plaster of a partially subsumed, reclining woman, has an array of ceremonial-looking ceramic objects around her groin. Coloured roots or veins connect her and the whole sculpture to the ground. The woman is coming out of another plaster mound which has multi coloured fabric tentacles sticking out of it and a green plant form. This is attached to a highly decorated ceramic stool with a hole in the top. There is a bean bag in the background.

Compost Toilet Installation – Hand-painted plaster ceramic and textiles.

Pussy & the Beasts

(Warning – contains nudity, urinating and a cat killing and eating a mouse).

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