Ashley Blalock (American, born 1978), The Yellow Wallpaper, 2021, nylon, Lent by the artist
The Yellow Wallpaper (2021)
Ashley V. Blalock
California-based artist Ashley V. Blalock (American, born 1978) created The Yellow Wallpaper in response to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 19th-century short story of the same name. In the story, the protagonist, who suffers from post-partum depression, slowly slips into psychosis while undergoing a “rest” or “domestic cure” at a rented summer estate. Confined primarily to her bedroom, the yellow wallpaper becomes the catalyst for her mental decline.
In Blalock’s installation, the individual crochet motifs—known as pineapples—traditionally represent welcome. Their distortion also hints at another meaning, reinforced by the color yellow, which some describe as the color of insanity. Blalock reflects on this often as she grew up in a house painted yellow and the colors of this piece were the colors of her childhood bedroom. Additionally, during the COVID-19 lockdown, the artist spent months at home undergoing an imposed “domestic cure,” and she incorporates the unsettled feelings she experienced within this piece.
Blalock holds an MFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute, an MA in art history from the University of California, and a BA in painting and printmaking from San Diego State University. She was a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Wassaic Project, and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as a visiting teacher at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
Photograph courtesy of the artist.
Support for this exhibition was provided in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.