Monday, 5 March 2012
Last chance to see!
BRAIDED TOGETHER. Hair in the work of Contemporary Women Artists, the brainchild of Charlotte Lindsay and Rebecca Baillie, is a fascinating, and carefully curated, exhibition. In a time when, here in the West, female body hair seems to become ever more fraught, BHVU Gallery feels like a breathing space, where artists push their media to probe narrow (still/again, only differently coded, if that) notions around gender and female beauty.
Go see: Two self-portraits of exquisite delicacy, put together by Tabitha Moses from individual hairs (she also shows her classy hairpurse); a video-piece where the artist Jessica Lagunas can be seen pulling out the grey hairs on her head one by one, excruciating to watch; Jenni Dutton's life-size blond hairdress, which I very much wanted to touch; Mary Dunkins’ photographs of women with very very long hair rippling down their backs, exuding an almost otherworldly stillness; Karen Bergeon's dark and funny hair hats; Wen Wu's gently creepy hairplay paintings; Samantha Sweeting's separation piece, the only work that includes hair off a male head; Marcelle Hanselaar's seductive painting and etchings of women whose bodies grow a fur of hair; Trish Morrissey's photographed portraits of women whose feminity is undiminished by their facial hair; and my Five perfect maidens, plus, for me in a new light, My house of howls, about which I’d been unsure, beautifully presented, on its own plinth.
This show deserves to be visited by a wide audience, as does BHVU, the small, artist-led gallery in the north of London with a strong programme. I wished the work could travel further afield, and be reviewed. Anybody?
The catalogue is an integral part of the whole project, a handsome object in itself, which puts the exhibition in a wider art-historical and social context, with fine photographs (Kiki Smith's Mary Magdalene, 1994, graces the cover!) and thoughtful and well-researched essays by Rebecca Baillie, Shir Aloni Yaaru and Lucetta Johnson.
You can see some of the curators’ artistic and theoretical work here and here.
Photos here courtesy of Charlotte Lindsay – thank you!
BHVU Gallery, Unit A, 2 Leswin Place, London N16 7NJ
Open to public: 18 February – 18 March 2012
Opening times: 12 - 6pm Saturday + Sunday or by appointment