This viewer finds the gallery dotted with Arata’s signature work: small white canvases featuring female heads of hair in 1970s styles. Surprisingly, the hair is isolated, without any accompanying face or body. With greater astonishment, the viewer discovers that these meticulously rendered hairstyles are based on photographs of female murder victims. This unsettling context dictates ideas of “absence” and of the “abject,” made known to the viewer. This work should be approached like all credible contemporary art—open to free interpretation. It then can be provocative and profound.
One viewer might see this as commentary on blind submission to fickle societal norms, represented by the frivolity of hairstyles, with the sense of self lost. Another may be inspired to question the concept of individuality defined by artificial means represented by fads, while yet another might see the show as an exhibition of unusual pop icons, a whimsical play of cosmetic references to time and place. Such readings are limitless, each relevant and authentic to the art. (Ehren Clark)
Date: May 9, 2012
Address: 29 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, 84101
Where: House Gallery