Ashlea Karkula at Circle Contemporary


Interact is pleased to announce that Ashlea Karkula is included in Perennial Hug, an exhibition at Circle Contemporary curated by Emily Barker, Tommy Ralph Pace of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, and Luis de Jesus. Featuring work by artists from across the U.S., Perennial Hug explores connection through the lens of creative practice.


Perennial Hug

January 26 - March 16, 2023

Circle Contemporary

1963 Johns Drive

Glenview, IL 60025

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About the exhibition | Generally speaking, artists use their hands to make things.  The hands are connected to arms which are connected to the torso….the same bodily elements that allow us to hug one another.  Many have been moved beyond words when viewing particularly resonant works of art.  What is it that touches us?  Do the hands and arms of the artist remain concretized within an object?  

Works of art operate prismatically; illuminating the economic and sociopolitical conditions in which they are made.  And as viewers, we can understand artworks not only as indicators of these systems, but as analog recordings of the thoughts and feelings of the maker.  Encoding the emotions and decision making processes into the various materials that are used.  We can observe the sensitive touch, attenuation to color and surface held within a painting, sculpture or photograph.  And these elements indicate the presence of the maker through the trace of their thoughts.  This exhibition is a group hug, gathering together a cross section of generous makers and thinkers in order to highlight the ways in which visual forms of expression reach out to the viewer embodying the act of communal meaning making.  

Perennial Hug is an annually occurring open call and guest juried exhibition that features artists of all demographics and abilities.  Through the deployment of various formal and material strategies, the work selected for Perennial Hug functions as an assembly of outstretched arms awaiting the warm embrace of the viewer.


Image descriptionA painting by Ashlea Karkula that features a chaotic, vibrant crowd of characters and hand painted text. Painted prominently near the center is white text that reads, "Thank you food's bank!" It appears inside of a blue heart shape that is outlined in gold. Googly eyes are affixed to the painting as the features of various creatures with gaping mouths and smiling faces. More text throughout the piece reads "It's ok to have feelings," "God bless the souls who lost to Covid," and "We are not disposable." The characters, crowds, and text each appear within a rectangular shape outlined in bright color, so the composition is a dense grid of images and letters.