les Fleurs des Maladies

Cadine is pleased to present
Holly Marie Armishaw's exhibition of work:
les Fleurs des Maladies

April 2 - April 30, 2022

Artist Statement
Les Fleurs des Maladies is a solo photographic exhibition by Vancouver-based artist Holly Marie Armishaw. The subversive content, containing flora and fauna paired with various medical instruments interacted with by anonymous gloved hands, is a stark contrast to the fresh florals of the artisan boutique situated below the gallery space. The florals in the photos are reminiscent of American artist Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings, which sexualized floral subjects as symbols of primary female sex organs. While evoking the sensuality of O’Keefe’s work, there is something more nefarious, pathological even, occurring in these photos. The title, les Fleurs des Maladies, which references Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs des Mal/The Flowers of Evil, provides context to the dark settings behind the subjects. Since 2008 Armishaw’s work has referenced the intimate and often clandestine struggles of female existence. Surgery, whether for assisted childbirth, gender affirmation, or treatment of maladies such as endometriosis and other causes of CPP (Chronic Pelvic Pain), are often traumatizing life events for women. Worse yet is that young girls are still being held down and “cut” by female elders performing FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) often without anesthesia, and for completely non-medical reasons. Just as women who experienced physiological disorders in ancient Greece, and psychological disorders from the 16th throughout and into the 20th century were said to be suffering from hysteria, known as the “wandering womb” syndrome, so todays medical treatments for female- specific maladies are still highly experimental and sometimes even unnecessary. These themes tie into the larger socio-political discourse of women’s rights and needs for better health care. Culture unfortunately doesn’t change without forging difficult conversations such as this one. And while cultural shifts inevitably occur over time, changing how we perceive and discuss our bodies, our natural anatomy remains fairly constant throughout history.

Artist Biography
Holly Marie Armishaw is a Vancouver-based Canadian visual artist. Her oeuvre includes photography, text-based, and installation work, collaboratively exploring themes of feminism, protest, existentialism, and atheism. She is best known for her compelling self-portraiture depicting these themes. Armishaw holds a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University (2000) and a certificate from Sotheby’s (2016) in art criticism, while currently completing a certificate from Harvard in critical writing (2021). Armishaw’s work has been exhibited across Canada and the United States. Though currently unrepresented, she has exhibited locally with Monica Reyes Gallery, Chernoff Fine Art, and the former Presentation House Gallery, now known as the Polygon. Group exhibitions have featured Armishaw’s photography as far North as the Yukon Arts Centre and as far South as the MUBE (Museu Brasileiro de Escultura) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and more recently in NYC. In 2013 she won an international competition for an art exhibition in Miami Beach, FL; that same work was also exhibited in the inaugural Capture festival. Armishaw’s art is included in exceptional collections, both local and foreign, including the collection of the founder of the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts in San Francisco. She was shortlisted and runner-up for the Georgia Fee (International) Artist/Writer Paris Residency in both 2017 and 2018. Both her art and writing have been extensively published. Armishaw has served on boards of directors in her community, including CARFAC and the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver (CASV), and has contributed to numerous charitable art auctions in Vancouver.

Join us Saturday April 2nd 5-7pm for the Cocktail Reception Opening Event.