“treasured heirloom” of Ashley Sauder Miller

Ashley Sauder Miller lives with her husband and four children in Harrisonburg, VA.  She earned undergraduate degrees from Hesston College (Kansas) and Eastern Mennonite University and her Master of Fine Arts from James Madison University with an emphasis in painting and drawing.  She actively exhibits her work and promotes the arts through her involvement as the Director at Spitzer Art Center.  Her studio is located in Harrisonburg Va, studio #3 at Spitzer Art Center.

In this body of work, I am particularly aware of the demands of motherhood, preservation of memory, and repetitious patterns of thought and behavior. The chair imagery, along with the caning and woven seat patterns have significantly informed my work over the past year.

I became conscious of the importance I attached to the chair imagery – as a treasured heirloom, as a place of expectancy, as a place my grandmother always sat, as the place I last saw my father, and so on. As a mother situated between grieving the sudden death of my father while caring for my children, I continually felt like I was in this awkward balance of wanting to remind my children of the past and their heritage and living in the joy and spontaneity of the moment. The chair imagery, with its roots in practicality, developed into a complex personal narrative of motherhood. Metaphorically, ideas of longing, emptiness, desire, expectancy, ambiguity, naivety developed in the chair pieces. In these chair forms a self-portrait of motherhood materialized; forms equally strong, purposeful, upright, intentional, sensual, and poetic and forms in need of repair, emptied, accidental, arbitrary, unpolished.

Find out more about the artist www.ashleysaudermiller.com