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Dennis reviews Ashely-Simone McKenzie exhibition at NYUSPS Gallery

The work on exhibit at Ash’s show INQUIRIES is unlike any that I’d seen of hers before. In a series of 8 paintings, Ash explores racial injustices in sports through images and words. While I’m not a follower of sports and/or athletes (well, I DO know who Serena Williams is!), I was saddened by much of the text in 2 particular pieces but became quickly educated in the inequalities in the sports world through conversations with Ash and others at the reception.

The stances and motions of the athletes show determination yet struggle. Most notable, to me, is the piece called CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy - a brain condition, generally the result of blows to the head) which depicts a scan of the brain seen through the player’s helmet. Having undergone many MRI brain scans myself, viewing a painted version of a scan left me feeling empathetic yet gratified to see the player still in motion and fit.

Upon entering the gallery, I could not help but to notice the soccer player figure being Ash – it perfectly depicts her motions, flexibility and free-form movement.

Anyone who knows Ash would pick this image out of any crowd – of people or paintings.

She was greeted with rounds of applause upon her arrival and graciously met with every person and patiently explained each piece to those students in attendance.

The show remains open at NYUSPS Gallery through April 7that 8 East 12thStreet, NYC.

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