"Lucky Strike: Female Nude in Eight Body Parts"
Mixed media collage
16 x 14 inches
1966
$2,500
"Lucky Strike: Female Nude in Eight Body Parts" (detail)
Mixed media collage
16 x 14 inches
1966
$2,500
"Nude on the Beach No.1"
Mixed media collage
16 x 14 inches
1966
$2,500
"Nude on the Beach No.2"
Mixed media collage
16 x 14 inches
1966
$2,500
"Nude on the Beach No.8"
Mixed media collage
16 x 14 inches
1966
$2,500
"Nude at Follies, Mardi Soirée"
Mixed media collage
16 x 14 inches
1966
$2,500
"Abstract Nudes No.2"
Mixed media collage
16 x 14 inches
1966
$2,500
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Rex Ashlock was a Figurative Expressionist who during the war years studied under the Bay Area Figurativist David Park.  He then taught at the California School of Fine Arts and at Berkeley. Ashlock described himself as an “irascible character, at odds with the world.” So, in 1957 he escaped to New York, leaving his wife and two children behind. He was soon teaching painting classes at MoMA and exhibited at several important New York galleries. However, he became reticent about pursuing galleries and promotion and instead, he chose to return to relative seclusion and the comfort of whiskey, living what he called “a lifestyle of extreme independence to its fullest.” That whiskey made him friendly with many of the painters of the first generation of the New York School who frequented the Cedar Tavern. The female figure remained Ashlock’s primary source of inspiration, expressed here in a series of collages from 1966. After 23 years in Manhattan he returned to San Francisco in 1980 where a Chinese calligrapher gave him his Chinese name, I chen bunán —  “One small grain of sand, unstained.” Ashlock’s abuse of alcohol and cigarettes had taken its toll, but he passed away in 1999 he left behind a large collection of powerful paintings, collages, and drawings that demand to be recognized as examples of what “honest” paintings should be. Here is an artist who may well have felt like a grain of sand left behind in that curious and continuous sifting between art history and art promotion while never losing his dignity in the struggle to render a vision of art, unstained.

– Peter Hastings Falk

Read the full backstory about Ashlock here.