Ashley Ronning Puts Up Second Solo Exhibition, 'No Place Like Space'


All photographs by Tatanja Ross

What captivated us into Ashley Ronning's illustrations were the clever mash-ups of plants and space icons. Also, we couldn't help but notice the reflective mood and link the dreamy elements with films by the renowned animator, Hayao Miyazaki and his film company, Studio Ghibli. Later, we learnt that Ashley has also been deeply influenced by science fiction films and novels, and incorporates her feelings from loneliness, personal growth and change. 

"I remember being particularly terrified by the concept of space and the infinite. I felt horrible every time I thought about it. At some point, I realised it was something that should be embraced. That was a big turning point as I developed more motivation to create art again. Now it kind of feels special because it was freeing to come to that realisation. As for plants, I love that they have little minds of their own." Ashley Ronning, Issue #1 of SAND

One of Ashley's work for her first solo show, Deep Space House Plant, which centres around a newly discovered space station | Credit: Ashley Ronning

 

One of the first artworks by Ashley Ronning that our Founder and Editor-in-Chief noticed, charmingly titled 'Koenji House' | Credit: Ashley Ronning

It has been awhile since we last spoke to the Brunswick, Melbourne based illustrator. Since then, she has participated in Think Pink by Enough Space—a group exhibition showcasing all works in that rosy, peachy, juicy hue. Of course, in a few days, Ashley will be on her second solo exhibition—No Place Like Space

Hey Ashley, how was Think Pink?
Really fun! Everyone dressed in pink for the opening, and all the artwork was gorgeous. It was a really dreamy exhibition.

Where did you get the story idea behind No Place Like Space from?
I’d been thinking about making an exhibition about Earth’s first space colony, and then came across physicist Gerard K. O’Neill’s book, The High Frontier, which details his plan for the first colonies in space.

We previously discussed your love for female artists. Were there any pivotal figures in space exploration and aeronautics whom you were actively thinking about while creating the current pieces?
I named the base of my colony after Margaret Hamilton who was a software engineer for NASA’s Apollo programs, she’s incredible! I also admire science communicator Ann Druyan who co-wrote both seasons of Cosmos and was the creative director of the Voyager Interstellar Message Project.



The first actual words spoken from the surface of the Moon were “Contact light”, in 1969. What does that mean to you, as a contemporary illustrator reimagining life (or non-life) on space?
To me it sort of means ‘it’s real, it’s happening, it’s not a possibility anymore, it’s a reality’. Also, space is a vastness beyond anything we know, and endless discoveries to be made.

 How do you see the future of space exploration?
It unfortunately depends a lot on the world wide political climate, which is in a pretty bleak place at the moment. It will be really interesting to see how private companies take on space exploration in the future.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve learnt about space?
It's not exactly about space. Today, my housemate told me about time crystals. They are crystals that form in ‘time’ rather than in ‘space’ like regular crystals. Definitely worth googling!

 

More about No Place Like Space

"Earth’s first colony on a not–so–distant planet has been inhabited for just over five years. The residents within have made great progress, but with no return trip in sight, it is easy to feel lonely and homesick. Within No Place Like Space, Ronning takes a step back into the 1970’s and examines what humankind’s first colony in space may look like through the lens of post-moonlanding fervour. She also imagines the feeling of isolation that space colony life brings, and the role of personal possessions and effects when you are hundreds of millions of kilometres from home."

The exhibition takes place at Magic Johnston in Collingwood, Melbourne. 
February 3 – 8, 10am – 5pm each day



More of Ashley Ronning on print
Stay up to date with Ashley here


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