As a medium, hair represents both the viewer’s identity and what Shoplifter calls the “remnant of the beast in us.” In its primal function, hair is a fiber meant to insulate and cool the body. Culturally, it is an agent to express individuality and social values. Worldwide, and throughout the history of humanity, cultures have used hairstyle, hair color, or the removal of hair as a means to express social position, gender, age, and other signifiers of social standing. Shoplifter situates her work between primal and cultural signifiers: primal, in that viewers are bombarded with a mass of biological vestiges; cultural, in her choice of synthetic hair, which is tied specifically to market demand as Shoplifter uses only colors available for purchase rather than dyeing the hair herself. In this way, the work functions as found-object installation.
In this solo presentation in the André Leon Talley Gallery, Shoplifter presents a new site-specific installation that continues her investigation into the power of material to transform spaces. Creating an intimate, welcoming environment, Shoplifter invites visitors of all ages to experience joy, energy, optimism, and playfulness.
The exhibition is presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2020, the university’s annual program of exhibitions, lectures, and performances held Feb. 18–20 at locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.