Portfolio > Dark and Lovely

“If we could watch in secret the rape of each lock, we should be able to give a series of pictures of human agony such as life but rarely presents, for we may be sure that, as a rule, a young woman almost as soon lose her life as that glorious appendage, on which so much of her beauty depends.”
- Andrew Wynter, “False Hair: Where it Comes From”, Our Social Bees, London, 1866.

Hairs are tiny threads that link us to our past and present stories. These delicate strands have the power to identify us to the world, and this world can make assumptions about us based on its shape, color, and condition. Hair is contradictory; it is desirable or disgusting, pure or processed, innocent or sinful, an afterthought or a crowning glory. It is an extension of the body that grows in the womb before birth, and in the coffin after death, and the rate or length of growth is beyond our control. In Dark and Lovely, my focus is the emotive power of domestic objects and rituals that fix, organize, soothe, and beautify our hair – our lives.

My work has always dealt with identity, with the sense of being in-between, an imposter, neither fully Chinese nor Caucasian. I have learned to live with the constant question about my appearance: “What are you?” I change my response depending on my hair, make-up, clothes, what I am doing, where I am at, or what I am eating – who I am at the moment. I find people are rarely satisfied with my answer. I explore this conflict through my chosen media – porcelain, which nods to my Chinese heritage but also represents “pure” white – the white desire I find in both cultures. Bound by these conditions, I stitch together my individual nature, unravel the pressures of conformity, and forever experience pain in search of perfection.

Forever and a Day, porcelain, eyebrow hair, mourning object
porcelain, eyebrow hair
12.5" x 8.5" x 3"
2014
alphabet sampler made from collected hair and porcelain shower drains
slip cast porcelain shower drains, collected hair
40" x 30" x 2"
2014
Pretty Sister, Ugly Sister
porcelain, black Chinese hair bleached blonde and dyed blue
13" x 14" x 2"
2014
Blue and White: Bold Beauty
digital photograph, porcelain, blue and white pattern transfer from Jingdezhen, China
11" x 14" photograph, 8" x 4" x 1.5" tray
2014
Blue and White: Delicate Diva
digital photograph, porcelain, blue cobalt from Jingdezhen, China
11" x 14" photograph, 8" x 4" x 1.5" tray
2014
Blue and White: Elegant Ingenue
digital photograph, porcelain, blue and white pattern transfer from Jingdezhen, China
11" x 14" photograph, 8" x 4" x 1.5" tray
2014
Wilt
porcelain, pine
13" x 20" x 3.5"
2014
Wither
porcelain, pine
13" x 20" x 3.5"
2014
Surrender Slowly
porcelain, pine
10.5" x 20" x 3.5"
2014
Making Women (series) 
installation view
porcelain, human hair
varies
2014
Grandmother White
porcelain, human hair
3" x 3" x 3.5"
2014
Blonde Bombshell
porcelain, human hair
3" x 3" x 4"
2014
Wild Child
porcelain, human hair
3" x 3" x 4"
2014
Pretty and Perfect
porcelain, human hair
3" x 3" x 3.5"
2014
Femme Fatale
porcelain, human hair
3" x 3" x 4"
2014
Black Beauty
porcelain, human hair
3" x 3" x 5"
2014
Natural Locks
porcelain, human hair
3" x 3" x 3.5"
2014