Monday, April 20, 2009

knotted hair...

While I was doing a little research on this most amazing Hair Museum I fell upon the lovely hair drawings of Jennifer Perry- an artist and yoga teacher, like myself, living in Brooklyn.
Her past work has been drawn interpretations of bunkers, embroidered out of hair, surrounded by a lot of white, negative space.

The work by first glance seems somewhat sterile and minimalist- but as you look closer and realize the labor of making, the personal quality of the material used, and learn about the intent behind the work it becomes everything but your initial thought.

Jennifer states:
In the fall of 2000 I traveled... to the English Channel where hundreds of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall bunkers stud the coastline... Some of them looked as if they had been built thousands of years ago, with their stepped “porches” and tomb like portals, and others were eerily futuristic. These beautiful and terrible fortresses became metaphors for personal and artistic issues that I was dealing with at the time: safety, fear, vulnerability, hatred, cruelty.

I reference the bunker forms by making schematic drawings on paper, and I then pierce the surface with a needle hundreds of times along the pencil lines. I knot individual strands of hair end to end and sew them into the paper or canvas... I am interested in representing closed, illusionistic rooms or spaces that hold memory. The fragility and visceral quality of the hair softens and humanizes the precise perspectival drawings of these imaginary fortresses, as it creates a play on scale and density.

After a hiatus away from hair, her new hair work has shifted quite a bit in both content and the image.

Her words are so perfect I will let her explain it herself:
After a hiatus... The abstract, schematic works seem too cool and analytical for me now, and I want to find a more direct and personal way of processing the travesty that is the war in Iraq. Looking at Goya's depictions of the horrors of the Peninsular War... alongside the graphic photos of the carnage in Iraq on the internet, I see uncanny parallels. I have started to make my own "mourning pictures" by sewing the hair into drawings based on Goya's etchings. I chose fragments of antique linen tablecloths as a support, which contrast the rather gritty images which I embroider on them...

To follow her amazing work visit her blog.
Please note most of these images are details of the actual work.


lovely textiles said...

This work is very beautiful and wonderfully well made. Recently I did some work in hair and I can vouch that it's really fiddly.

Joetta said...

I can only imagine...I worked with hair once and not for embroidery and it was very frustrating. I am always impressed when folks use it as a medium.