Nicholas Ashton

Plaster, Oak Leaf and Gilding Leaf



I make my work with whatever medium is appropriate, or to hand, to best illustrate the ideas I am attempting to convey at the time. I like to use disposable materials such as cardboard and enjoy disguising materials to make them look like something else. The gold leaf in this piece is a play upon words as well as an illustration of the paradox of the notion of value.


Thus, the ideas that underlie my current works are those of time, energy and materials, and the way in which they come together in the space of the world. How they exist, co-exist and their effect upon each other and the population.


My work is also a response to the rapid and recent changes in our society, from the advent of a global pandemic to the changes in work patterns, lifestyles, and technology, and attempts to convey the notion of change and how a new way of life is gradually replacing an older one.



Everywhere we look we see resources and material wealth. In terms of the world’s resources, we have barely scratched the surface. Everything we mine, transform and utilise will eventually return to the Earth. In the words of Lavoisier, “Matter is neither created nor destroyed.” This law of conservation of matter will make sure of this. Some materials are more precious than others; those with a high ratio of stock to flow can be used as a store of value and a medium of exchange. The most precious resource is time, and this is the real reason that money exists. Gold as a reliable source of long-term value and the lead with its limited lifespan juxtapose notions of time, value and material resource.

Ghost, Gold Leaf in a Petri Dish

SKU: 014
  • All petri dishes will not be released for shipping until after the Petri Dish Project physical exhibition. If you would like it before then please contact for arrangements.