Michael Ashkin

Andrea Rosen Gallery

For a number of years Michael Ashkin has been producing tabletop tableaux that depict distinctive aspects of the contemporary American landscape: nearly barren postindustrial sites, stretches of desolate highway, and other fringe areas. These precise dioramas comprise terrains fashioned from plaster, cement, dirt, salt, and other substances, and bodies of water of poured Envirotex, a resinlike liquid that hardens to a slightly translucent coat. The occasional car, power line, and spigot might be purchased from hobby shops, and everything is constructed to exacting scale. Ashkin’s style has become far more spare in the works recently on view, as have his titles: the lyrical, narrative allusion of 1993’s Far North, over Uncharted Shallows, He Began a Slow, Peaceful Descent, for example, has been replaced by the simplicity of numbers. Ashkin’s use of this convention is a sign of his turn

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