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IRIS 03
Original artwork, oil on paper, 31 cm x 41 cm (pre frame), (40 x 49 cm framed) 2017/2018, private collection
Digital screen-print, edition of 10, 37.5 cm x 46.5 cm (pre frame), 2017/2018

Following on from Iris 02, Iris 03 also takes inspiration from the track ‘Blue Calm’ - written by jazz musician Trish Clowes specifically with the multifaceted Iris in mind. This smaller work on paper also considers the dimensions and symbolism of Iris, the Greek rainbow Goddess of the sky and the sea, and messenger of the Gods. The artwork echoes this division of sea and air within its structure - the treatment here is softer than the larger canvas but still combines an underlying base grid to achieve a sense of the soft and lyrical shades of blue that contrast with the harder edged circles.

The circles create a contrasting dynamic and reinforce the association of Iris with the physical eye and with a rainbow. They hint at the retinal imagery inherent in the music. The circles are specifically restricted to six colours to symbolise the rainbow flag. This painting intuitively responds to the music to express the hope and vitality Iris is seen to represent.

As a gay artist and activist it was vital to Ash to connect the rainbow of Iris to the rainbow pride flag. Both are multifaceted and represent diversity, hope, and social action. Consequently, the spots are limited to six colours; this gives the artwork impact and a greater sense of depth and passion. It also sits comfortably with the city of Southampton, which embraces and champions its LGBTQ community.

Ash worked with Jealous Studio to produce 10 digital screen prints that came out of the original work on paper.