Ashley Gray exhibited his debut exhibition ‘Why Suffer Alone?’ this summer at artFix. Ashley is a digital artist who adopts a conceptual approach to his artwork. He uses his artwork as a means of both understanding and communicating intangible feelings. Ashley uses his art as an instrument to further understand and navigate through his thoughts and feelings but also to explore why we suffer, and the nature of suffering in itself.
He explains that we often isolate ourselves through periods and moments of suffering and that although there are many different reasons for this, our sentiments and attitudes towards hardship are usually the same regardless of race, gender, and individual identity. The most prevalent reason we choose not to share our suffering is that we often feel alone and misunderstood in this suffering. We feel that suffering and struggle must be an individual pursuit – it is rarely something we feel eager or inclined to share. We are keen to conceal our feelings due to a lack of understanding. If we were entirely aware of our feelings, our fears and our suffering we would be able to steer through our minds and explore the uncharted waters that harbour these thoughts. We are hesitant to share our hardship because the sorrow and despair is hard to explain, hard to articulate. If we could express our feelings we would learn that we are not alone in our suffering. Ashley’s artwork directly considers this concept of sharing. He creates a shared experience of his own suffering, encouraging others to recognise that they are not alone in their hardship.
It is through his own inner conflict and hardship that Gray is able to empower himself. Throughout this exhibition he demonstrates that the very suffering that causes his struggle can also construct his happiness and triumph.