The opening of Ajax Axe’s Solo Exhibition, The Palace of the Beast: Incantations to the Imagination, is at Skye Gallery on July 14th from 6pm-9pm. Skye Gallery is located at 535 E Cooper Ave in the Aspen core. Click HERE for more information,
Ajax Axe is a sculptor and installation artist interested in the intersection between philosophy, science and community identity. She creates work that explores and deconstructs different dominant narratives in society and ideas about the future of civilization. She lived in East Africa and Colombia prior to moving to Aspen and still returns to Kenya and Sudan regularly. Besides making sculptures, she is currently developing imagination workshops for adults in which participants reimagine the world around them and their vision of the future. Ajax’s work can be seen at www.ajaxaxe.com.
What stories are you trapped inside of? What myths have you constructed your identity from? Which spells in the web of meaning have enchanted you? Ajax Axe’s solo exhibition, The Palace of The Beast, explores these questions through immersive and figurative sculptural works. Nineteen sculptural pieces and a series of incantations and rituals will take viewers on journey into the nebulous world within where imagination, myth, symbolism and belief are inextricably melded into the fabric of our identities.
[su_box title=”http://www.ajaxaxe.com/about/”]Ajax began making sculptures at the age of 16 at Skidmore College. She has a minor in art from Skidmore and majored in Middle Eastern Politics, which lead her to study both sculpture and conflict resolution as the American University in Cairo in 2003 and 2004.
After college, she pursued a career in journalism working in Egypt, Sudan, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lebanon and Colombia while making installation sculptures and tableau photographs in her free time.
In 2008, she began working in the editorial department at the Italian arts and culture magazine Colors, where she had several of her creative projects published. That year, her photographs were included in the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art’s Colorado Artists Group Exhibition. In 2009, several of her large format photographs of mutating landscapes were included in the Tang Museum’s Skidmore alumni group exhibition.
In the fall of 2009, she began a master’s degree that combined art and anthropology at Harvard University where she took classes in critical studies, anthropology and studio art. She helped lead the Harvard Public Art Initiative in the spring of 2010, which resulted in the installation of a Myanmar inspired border crossing being erected at the entrance to Harvard’s main campus.
In March of 2010, she received the National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant for a project on climate change in Eastern Sudan. That project took close to a year and, by its completion, Ajax was committed to continuing to work in East Africa. She was still making sculptural installation work in her spare time and now she began to look around her at the materials available in Kenya and Sudan. Inspired by the System D economy she saw flourishing there, she started using found and recycled objects and construction methods that emphasized the fact that objects were handmade.
She returned to the United States in 2012 and began taking classes in sculpture at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado. She found a studio in the wilderness outside of Aspen and started creating sculptural installations about the environment, philosophy and the future of mankind. In 2013, she created the idols for two opposing futuristic tribes, The Petrolyphic and Solarglyphic people, reflective of dystopic and utopic future societies. In the spring of 2014, she returned to Kenya where she built a three-meter tall pyramid from 3000 plastic water bottles salvaged from local beaches.
Between 2012 and 2015 she collaborated with a number of different artists including Richard Prince, J. Morgan Puett, Mare Liberum, Natalie White, and Abdulnasser Gharem on projects and exhibitions. The Mare Liberum Open Seas project was written up in The Wall Street Journal in 2012, her work with Richard Prince was published in Purple Magazine in January 2013, and the Gharem Studios Exhibition project was recently published in Art in America and The Guardian. In the summer of 2015, the Gonzo Gallery in Aspen offered her a solo show in its 2500 square foot space. She created forty new works for that show which was exhibited in February of 2016. The show was well received, and most of the pieces were sold into private collections.
She is currently working on a new body of work based on concepts from physics and philosophy. In the fall and winter of 2016, she worked on a remote beach in Lamu, Kenya, on a large scale installation using trash that washes ashore from Southeast Asia, and in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi, to transform it’s public spaces into a forest using a collage of assemblage sculpture, photograph and gardening to make it into a forest city.[/su_box]