Oleander and Silica

Ashlen Harris

School of Art – BFA3 – Art

Collaborators: Andrew Chanover

In nature, beauty is often accompanied by risk: poisonous plants, venomous animals, even dangerous endeavors to find the most beautiful sites on Earth. This extends into human history: toxic cosmetics, hazardous fashions, and the damage it causes to workers producing those products. In a human context, this is favoring spectacle and performance, idolatry of “working hard” in spite of the harm it causes to the body. We admire beauty in spite of the death it can signify. Long-term negatives are ignored for short-term glory.
This work explores the intersection of beauty and death through floral arrangements highlighting highly toxic plants. Many are common in homes and gardens but can be fatal if ingested. The vessels also carry their own unseen danger: clay dust can cause long-term health conditions, and safety precautions are necessary to protect against their damage. Accompanied by original music to underscore this idea: every beautiful object has the capacity to destroy.


  • Date : May 4, 2023
  • Time : 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm (UTC+0)
  • Venue : Machine Lab
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