Ash Arder (she/they) is a transdisciplinary artist whose research-based approach works to expose, deconstruct or reconfigure physical and conceptual systems – especially those related to ecology and/or industry. Ash manipulates physical and virtual environments to explore materials, mark making, mechanical portraiture and sound design as tools for complicating dynamics of power between humans, machines and the lands they occupy.

She has held artist residencies at A Studio in the Woods in New Orleans (2017-18), Recess in Brooklyn (2019), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha (2021), and University Musical Society in Ann Arbor (2021-22). Recent exhibitions include a solo show at the Cranbrook Art Museum (2023-24), and group shows at NXTHVN (2024), and Amant (2023). Ash is a 2023 Joan Mitchell Fellow, and a two-time awardee of the Knight Foundation's Arts Challenge grant. She received an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Ash lives and works in Detroit, Michigan about an hour north of her hometown of Flint. 
At the very core, my creative practice is concerned with the idea of relation. Relation is, for me, a basic tenet for understanding how collaboration between ideas and entities might occur. I use the idea of speculative collaboration as a framework to expose, deconstruct or reconfigure physical and conceptual systems - especially those relating to ecology and industry. I understand collaboration to be a form of intimacy.

My work generates systems, exercises, meditations, demonstrations, and interventions that manifest as installation, sculpture, sound, drawing, electronics, video and performance. Each work ponders the role of agency, both active and passive, in co-creating an event or phenomenon. I am interested in complicating viewers’ own understanding of their proximity to and participation in systems and cycles reflected in my work and subsequently at larger societal and ecological scales. These complications or moments of tension between living entities, objects, space, and infrastructure serve as a catalyst for interrogating the very conditions responsible for the complication or glitch. My work and research probe historical events, popular culture, and industry for insight into what I think of as “relational glitches,” or ruptures in empathy. I am inspired and motivated by the potential of empathy, curiosity, wonder and play to slow the devastating effects of climate change.
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