Women Framing Hair: Serial Strategies in Contemporary Art
This book explores the complex and enigmatic motif of hair in the work of five contemporary women artists, Chrystl Rijkeboer, Alice Maher, Annegret Soltau, Kathy Prendergast and Ellen Gallagher, from the late 1970s to the present. It investigates why hair is such a productive and resonant site of meaning, how it is suggestive of, and responds to, serial strategies, and why it appears to be of particular significance to women who are artists. It explores the implications of hair as an embodied material, its role as a haptic metaphor of the life cycle, and what might be seen as a darker, more liminal side of hair as a site of excess and body waste, and its ability to represent trauma and ‘wounding’. It also discusses some of the divergent histories of hair as a rich marker of identity in cultural discourses of beauty, myth and femininity, and as a symbol of status and power. Informed by a range of theoretical approaches, this book draws on Julia Kristeva’s theorizations of the abject, Hélène Cixous’s notion of écriture feminine, and a Deleuzian consideration of difference.
Following a degree in Fine Art in the mid-1970s, and a career in sculpture conservation, Heather Hanna completed a PhD with The Open University in 2011. She has since contributed to Studies in the Maternal, and Eyemazing, and is currently an independent researcher.
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