Hair Stories

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

Artists: Diane Katsificas, Nancy Robinson, Erica Spitzer Rasmaussen and Mara Zoltners
July 14 - September 3, 2000
Minnesota Artists Gallery


Nancy Robinson, Mary Magdalene, 2000
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Nancy Robinson, Mary Magdalene, 2000
This exhibition and event series presented the work of four visual artists, three writers, and two art historians who explore the personal, cultural, and mythological significance of hair. Hair Stories featured visual and verbal texts dealing with body-related issues: mixed-media installation art by Diane Katsificas, paintings by Nancy Robinson, mixed-media sculpture by Erica Spitzer Rasmaussen, and a video installation by Mara Zoltners; fiction (text and readings) by Paulette Bates Alden, Valerie Miner, and Mary Francois Rockcastle; an exhibition essay by Rob Silberman; and nineteenth-century hair-weaving (jewelry and wreaths), curated by art historian Michael Stoughton, who explained just how these relics of the dead were transformed into popular decorative art objects of their time.

In her site-specific installation, Shearing, Diane Katsiaficas incorporated branches, a tent, video footage of human hair and sheep shearing, and a variety of evocative images to refer specifically and poetically to mundane and sublime aspects of two ancient hair stories: one of Abslom, the son of King David, the other of Berenice II, the Queen of Egypt. Through her dark and often humorous psychological portraits Nancy Robinson presented hair as a symbol for repression of hidden desire. Usually it's a physical manifestation of a nasty secret, such as a love obsession, a harbinger of imminent decay or the 'natural' side of a 'civilized' person. Erica Spitzer Rasmussen reflected personal myths and various issues of women's heritage in sculpture that often incorporated non-archival material and handmade paper. She explored the dark side of beauty in new works made in response to body-altering practices, both real and fictitious. In Mara Zoltner's video installation, The Ignorant Fairy, videotape unfolds through time with an ethereal sequence depicting locks of blond hair falling slowly and gracefully around the woman's feet. Melodic sounds of singing birds float in and out, with an intermittent image of blue sky and a final frame of a flying bird--all ordinary things that reflect spiritual forces, yearnings, and release.

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Related Events

  • Opening Reception: Thursday, July 13, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. in the Minnesota Artists Gallery.
  • Gallery talks and readings by the artists and writers: Sunday, August 27, 2000 at 3:00 p.m. in the Minnesota Artists Gallery.

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