Taking inspiration from the symbolism associated with hair, such as good health, wealth, vanity, power, and femininity, Brooklyn, New York-based artist Lauren Carly Shaw creates intriguing surrealistic sculptures of women totally covered in hair.
Hairy Ladies investigates the symbolism associated with hair. Long hair is often associated with good health, wealth, vanity, power and femininity as in fairy tales like Rapunzel and myths such as the story of Samson and Delilah. These tales use hair as a symbol for feminine power. Other cultures such as the Native American Navajo believe that hair holds memory. In a more scientific manner, scientists can analyze the DNA found in hair for very specific information about the person it belongs to. This fact confirms that hair literally holds a personal history. I am also interested in the history and contemporary practices of grooming surrounding hair. Women shave large parts of their naturally haired bodies. We cut, color, style and braid our hair in order to appear kempt and presentable. Many people shave their heads and let facial hair grow to assert ownership of the self and refusal to conform to prescribed gender stereotypes. As a society we are obsessed with using our appearance to conform or challenge our own identities. Hair is an element of the human body that links us closely to animals. Over grown hair evokes a sense of the animal nature within the human. The hair on these sculptures seems to have grown so long that the figures look like an evolved or different species of human.Lauren Carly Shaw