Ashley E. Walters

Ashley E Walters was born in Spearfish, South Dakota and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She earned her BFA in 2015 from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Drawing from her childhood of moving throughout the Midwest, her work explores themes of memory and oral history to give false narratives and mystery to the passage of time in the Heartland. She is currently working on a collection of writings and large format photographs of Wyoming. Her favorite flowers are Forget-Me-Nots.

When the Moon was in the Seventh House

There are places that crop up on the cusp of prairies that linger, stuck out of time. To me, they serve as precious depositories of sentiment. Places that emphasize and encourage memory, places that tell stories. They remind me of the luminescence of memories, my own upbringing, my mother’s, and my grandfather’s; stories told to me since childhood of mischief unfolding in dim twilight, of smoking in fields, of myths whispered over the phone and us not really knowing if they are true. In When the Moon was in the Seventh House we see a town, built out of fiction, reality and memory.

When the Moon was in the Seventh House relies on the structures of oral mythos and focuses heavily on the passage of time. It draws a convoluted narrative from the phenomena of the “tall tale” or the local legend: a story that was conceived out of reality and becomes twisted by time, the handling of different tellers, and slow exaggeration for cinematic effect. The pervasive presence of text in the work seems to enshroud rather than illuminate. Through these processes, the story of the birth and death of a town moves from fact to near-fiction and becomes situated in that murky region of not quite true but not untruth either, like a campfire ghost story.

Spread across the chapters of When the Moon Was in the Seventh House, I try fervently to tap into my own memories and the memories of others; wading deep into the waters of this mystical, fictional town, and bringing back all I can carry. A loose but complex web of artifacts, portraits, and landscapes, When the Moon was in the Seventh House is an anthem to the river of time that cuts through, to the cycle of birth and death and to my desire to subvert truth in order to build a narrative. The photographs in Seventh House are slippery and difficult to place, we can almost see the characters and the stage, but it’s as if we can’t conjure them through the smoked film of the story itself.

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