"The Ape Rebellion", 2019, Oil on Canvas, 30 by 40, Ashely Beerdat
"The Ape Rebellion", 2019, Oil on Canvas, 30 by 40, Ashely Beerdat
The light is filtered through the canopy, hazy and diffuse. The plants themselves are untamed, yet somehow restrained: small trees with rounded crowns or curved trunks and tight, dense foliage, like wild bonsai, give way to a small meadow of softly stippled grasses. In the meadow, the apes gather like revelers. What seems at first to be a picnic or open-air ball gradually reveals itself as something more troubled. The largest of the apes rides atop a rearing steed, the circular patterns of its skin recalling the vitreous mounts of the Epirota Phalanx. The ape raises one fist toward the sky, calling attention to a shattered and burning bridge, with splintered edges that resemble a frayed and sparking power cable.
"The Harbinger of Death", 2020, Gouache on Canvas, 9 by 11 inches, Ashley Beerdat
"The Harbinger of Death", 2020, Gouache on Canvas, 9 by 11 inches, Ashley Beerdat
The ape is a wise old man. His coarse fur blends to a soft white beard that frames his tired, watchful eyes. He stands widely, gnarled staff planted, one arm raised in warning. There are spirits hiding in the matted vines. Their faces are vague and worn, like chalk rubbings of their former selves.
"Redwoods", 2020, Gouache on Canvas, 9 by 11 inches, Ashley Beerdat
"Redwoods", 2020, Gouache on Canvas, 9 by 11 inches, Ashley Beerdat
The roots of the vast trees swoop upward like arched buttresses, massive and impossibly graceful. Light filters through the canopy as if through a rose window, casting a warm glow spotlight upon a group of cornered prey, as shadowy hunters emerge from the dark, dense undergrowth, closing in. The Harbinger watches over the hunt, cheering as it unfolds. His angled staff cuts across the scene, bearing the antlered skull of a prey animal.
"The Last Hunt", 2020, Gouache on Canvas, 9 by 11, Ashley Beerdat
"The Last Hunt", 2020, Gouache on Canvas, 9 by 11, Ashley Beerdat
The prey animal bursts from the underbrush, its face a snarling rictus of panic. Its pronged antlers tear a path through the dense tangle and the sinewy curves of its legs disappear into the crowded leaves. The apes are close behind. The massive gorillas lumber slowly but powerfully over the forest floor, their own faces blank and mask-like, feeling only the magnetic pull of the hunt. The chimpanzees swing acrobatically, the gangling grip of their arms echoing the arcing swoop of the trailing vines. In the near distance, a monumental tree trunk flares upward like a stone column.
"The Green Giant", 2021, 30 by 40 inches, Oil on canvas, Ashley Beerdat
"The Green Giant", 2021, 30 by 40 inches, Oil on canvas, Ashley Beerdat
The giant’s footstep threatens the placid harmony of the fairytale garden, yet the residents are unperturbed. Perhaps, despite his immense size, he is at home here too, and knows how to tread gently. Or perhaps he is camouflaged by the trailing plants that encase his limbs like intricate tattoos. Whatever the reason, the two young women continue their stroll along the edge of a pond that surges with bright goldfish, heading toward a narrow tower adorned with creeping flowers. Even the draconid beasts are peaceful—as much as they ever are—gazing waspishly at the small boats that brave the river, or navigating the narrow airspace between the towering mushrooms.