Ashley Guenette, Artist – Northern Ontario

Photo: Amber Lee Williams

Ashley Guenette is a Franco Ontarian artist from rural Northern Ontario. Her recent work draws from algorithmically-generated social media content in order to reveal their hidden forms of oppression and reframe them in critical, feminist contexts. Using analogue methods to interpret digital content, her drawings, paintings, sculptures, and multiples challenge aesthetic conventions of painting while engaging in an ongoing dialogue with its histories. She holds an MFA from the University of Waterloo. Her work is currently on display in the group exhibition Is this real life | Est-ce la vraie vie at the Art Gallery of Sudbury.

  1. TikTok’s biased algorithms and trends

Social media algorithms have become a key focus within my creative practice. I’ve been using TikTok to engage with viral trends that serve as digital microaggressions, reflecting acts of racism, body shaming, and the glorification of mental health disorders (e.g.: ADHD and eating disorders), as well as That Girl routines, in order to carefully curate an endless stream of content to investigate the negative impacts of this content on women-identified and BIPOC individuals, as well as other marginalized groups. Using strategies such as humour and exaggeration, I then translate this digital content into hand-based methods to reinterpret this seemingly playful content, exposing viewers to the more hateful sides of social media which are normalized vis-a-vis pop culture.

  1. Oil Sticks

I’ve recently rediscovered my attraction to oil sticks. Colour and composition are important aspects within my creative practice and thanks to the malleability of the oil sticks, I’ve been able to physically mix colours directly onto the surface in a quick, messy, and immediate way that allows me to translate my initial thought or reaction with minimal filtering.

  1. MCM furniture

Thrifting and going to garage sales and flea markets are things I have always loved. My mom and I have been doing this together since I was a kid. Recently, I’ve become obsessed with MCM furniture. I’m always on the hunt for a great deal. I’m currently refinishing a beautiful teak credenza for my living room in my spare time.

  1. HIIT workouts outside

Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve become addicted to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. With the recent warm weather, I’ve been doing them outside. The air is fresh in my lungs, the breeze is always nice and cooling, and I get that nostalgic feeling of playing outside.

  1. My cats

How could I not be? They’re adorable.