BIOGRAPHY
 
Ashley V. Blalock was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She earned an MFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute, an MA in art history from the University of California Riverside, and a BA in painting from San Diego State University. She was a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center, and Wassaic Project, and was a visiting teacher at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Her solo installation venues include the Nevada Museum of Art, Lux Art Institute, the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York, and the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at the Craft in America Center, Huntington Beach Art Center, Oceanside Museum of Art, Mingei International Museum, and the Whatcom Museum, and installed in and around historic homes such as Edith Wharton’s home (The Mount), Highfield Hall, and the Heritage Museum and Gardens.

Published reviews of her work include articles in the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, and Art and Cake. Her work has been featured in FiberArt Now, The Bulletin of the International Organization of Lace, Vogue Knitting Crochet, and Interweave Crochet Magazine. Ashley V. Blalock lives and works in Southern California.



ARTIST STATEMENT

In so many ways, our society is accelerating at an unsustainable pace; our consumer goods are mass-produced and outsourced overseas to be made by nameless, faceless people. Our communication with virtual 'friends' is through cold, glass touchscreens. My work is the antithesis of this, it is about connecting to a material, a community of makers, and making objects by hand in a slow, methodical way. If there ever was a word that evoked thoughts of outdated, old, and grandma, that word is doily. Those little frilly wonders perched on fine solid wood, handmade furniture of old are just the sort of time-intensive frivolities that seem irrelevant in this age of mass-produced, flat-pack, medium-density fiberboard, planned obsolescence consumer goods that pass as home furnishings today. The doily forms I use are echoes of a time past; a not too distant past that is, at the same time, accelerating away from collective memory at warp speed. This slow, meditative process is a remedy to world increasingly comprised of virtual connections, quick transitions, planned obsolescence, and instant gratification.
 
I use craft-based processes to create objects and site-responsive installations inspired by everyday artifacts from the domestic sphere. Through the meditative process of crochet, where every stitch is evidence of work by hand, I explore themes of discomfort and the coping mechanisms used to provide solace from the stress and trauma of modern life. Since 2011, I have been creating installations in a series I call "Keeping Up Appearances," which is both anachronistic and antagonistic. This series consists of vibrant red forms nailed and tied to the walls, floor, and ceiling that are actually giant crochet doilies. Although non-threatening in a domestic setting, in the gallery and at this scale, the forms overtake the viewer and loom menacingly. The doilies represent a certain desire to keep up the appearance of gentility expressed through the arrangement of objects in the domestic setting. Inherent is a compulsion to arrange and place and decorate in order to control or influence a perceived outward appearance. The red color gives away the futility of such an act and hints at the unease that exists behind every well-decorated home and lurks below the surface of an obsessive need to control and arrange.