As a Kentucky-born transplant living in Chicago, Joy Wilson began painting flowers with Dutch floral classics in mind, creating vast, botanical spaces in an environment that otherwise lacked much interaction with nature. Years and dozens of canvases later, the subject was leant new energy and meaning for the artist when her four-year-old gifted her a dying hibiscus flower brought home from the park, crushed from being squeezed and carried. The notion of fleeting beauty had perhaps always been present in Wilson’s floral work, but became a conscious infusion after the epiphany, when she began the series, Belle Morte, or "beautiful death." The flower is an apt metaphor for human existence, with a lifespan we can easily witness; petals even wilt and wrinkle in the same patterns as aging skin. Belle Morte is an appreciation of a stage of life not always admired, finding deep beauty in the ephemerality of our existence.