FLOWERS OF EVIL is a solo exhibition by Dallas based artist Ashley Whitt. This work is inspired by my experiences during the pandemic. I had a nervous breakdown in the spring of 2021 that required hospitalization and two months of intense therapy. Like many people, my mental health issues were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The isolation of the pandemic combined with moving back to where I grew up triggered traumatic memories and PTSD flashbacks, specifically about sexual and physical abuse that I experienced in high school and early college.
The title of the series, FLOWERS OF EVIL, comes from a collection of poetry by Charles Baudelaire. In Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, he attempts to extract beauty from the malignant. This collection of poetry combined with my personal experiences provided the inspiration for the works in this show.
The images explore interior thoughts and fragmented memory through digitally manipulated photographs of flowers, wallpaper patterns, and body parts. Using photography, video, collage, and sculptural bookmaking I delve deep into my own subconscious to create works that visually portray the unrest I felt during and after the breakdown.
FLOWERS OF EVIL is on view at 500X Gallery from May 14 to June 5, 2022. There will be an opening reception on May 14th from 7-10 pm. The gallery is open from 12-5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The address for the gallery is 516 Fabrication Street, Dallas, 75212. There will be an artist talk at the gallery, Ashley Whitt in Conversation with Ciara Elle Bryant, on Sunday, May 22nd from 2-3 pm.