Keeping Up Appearances is an ongoing, site-specific installation project by Ashley V. Blalock in which she strings up huge crocheted, web-like doilies throughout different gallery spaces. The American artist uses bold red cotton and yarn to create forms that burst from corners and walls, and cover the floor. Although the project changes from one location to the next, the consistent theme is an exploration of domestic living and the concept of how people try to maintain outward appearances for the world.
Based in Southern California, Blalock describes her work as a fusion of craft with fine art. The typically delicate doilies are presented as enormous, intricate sculptures sometimes spanning as high as 15-feet-tall. At such a massive scale, the explosion of abstract kaleidoscopic shapes no longer appear delicate, and thus, inherently overpower the viewer with the immense size and the intense, stimulating color.
Blalock says, “The doilies themselves represent a certain desire to keep up the appearance of gentility to the outside world expressed through the arrangement of objects in the domestic setting.”