Topic: Ashley Grant: A Sense of History

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Ashley Grant was introduced to copper and brass work by his art teacher at New Plymouth’s Devon Intermediate School in 1965, and from there he progressed over the years to silver and bone. Over the last 13 years, he has sculpted in Hinuera stone, having taken part in Te Puna Quarry Park and the Matamata stone symposiums.

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Ashley, 57, was  born in New Plymouth and now lives with his family at Pahoia. This rural property is the geographic wellspring of his creativity and where he creates his wonderful works in stone.

In a recent development he is now using local argylite stone from the Coromandel for his sculptures (stone used historically to make the axe and adze), with interventions of silver, copper, bronze and bone.

Ashley Grant at work in his studio.

Coming from an architectural background he has always been interested in the history, the art and craftsmanship from the different cultures of the past. He worked with a small architectural practice in Bath, UK, where he was involved mainly with conservation work, most memorable being the creation of a crypt under Bath Abbey.

“We worked in partnership with archaeologists who dug up and documented various very old human remains in stone coffins and parts of Roman buildings.” 

He was also introduced to the beautiful carving quality of Bath’s limestone, but overall the experience in the UK, “reinforced within me a deep-seated sense of history”.

Ashley believes that the meaning of a piece of artwork can simply lie in what the viewer experiences – there need be no hidden meaning, no great philosophising or theoretical back ground and as a self described self-indulgent stone carver this notion appeals to him.

“I choose ancient elements, motifs, patterns, and objects which fascinate me but which, for others, may go to make up their own story, their own meaning. I attempt to provide the framework for that in my work.”

'Mask' by Ashley Grant.

Ashley tells me that the greatest compliment he has ever been paid was when a young woman shed tears over a piece of his work. The piece was not for sale as it held special significance for him, but she shared what the piece meant to her and her life experience. He was humbled to have provided her with a creative reference that she related to so closely.

Ashley exhibited in a group exhibition at the Creative Tauranga Community Gallery in 2010. His work can also be seen at the Cargo Shed on Dive Crescent.  

He can be contacted by phone on 07 548 2752 or by email for viewings and commission work.

by Pete Morris (2011).

Pete Morris is an occasional painter and art lover. He is a freelance writer with a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga.



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Ashley Grant: A Sense of History

First Names:Ashley
Last Name:Grant