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Joe Nolan wrote this exhibition review.
The whole drama of human history can be traced through fashion and fashions can be described by hair. Where would Cleopatra be without her bangs? What about Bettie Page? Samson went from giant to jellyfish when he lost his curly locks, and any boy or man who’s had a girlfriend or a wife suddenly cut or color her tresses knows the emotional upheaval that can be expressed in such a drastic shift in style. From Julius Caesar’s close-cropped cut to Britney Spears’ bald scalp, hair – and the lack of it – has power.
Photographer Rebecca Drolen is an assistant professor of art at Belmont University and her new exhibition at Gallery 121 in the Leu Center for the Visual Arts at Belmont offers a collection of objects and black-and-white images that are tangled up in the traditions of tresses and the history of hair. Hair Pieces asks questions about how hair figures in our conceptions of beauty and gender as well as its role in our shared cultural myths and ancestral memories.