Ashley Oubré is a self-taught artist from Washington, DC, who paints large-scale images that could easily be mistaken for photographs. Using graphite powder, India ink, and carbon pencil, she masterfully creates dramatic contrasts and realistic textures. The human subject is explored widely throughout her work, often portrayed in soul-searching states of vulnerability and contemplation. She also has a fascinating jellyfish series, in which she perfectly captures the invertebrates’ translucent bodies and trailing, ghost-like movements. Each of her works is marked by an accuracy that subtly transcends the boundaries of reality, drawing the viewer’s attention to the beauty of form by accentuating the details.
In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Oubré described herself as an “artist who paints (my view of) the human condition.” A tangible presence surrounds her portraits. Drawn to subjects who have endured social hardships, Oubré’s grayscale style sensitively portrays the physical nuances of pain and rejection. Despite their defeated poses, the figures resonate with an honest and unwavering strength. By evoking powerful emotions in the viewer, Oubré’s work enacts a form of healing and empowerment through representation.