By Stephanie Hargrave
Shift Gallery guest artist Susan Tureck has put together a wall of artworks entitled The Art of Barbering. A graduate of CalArts in Valencia, California, Tureck worked for a tile company for several years, and went on to do marketing for them as well. These days, she has returned her focus to making art.
For this exhibition, Tureck was inspired by photographs appropriated from the 1931 Standardized Textbook of Barbering. The works are gouache and pencil with vellum overlays, and feel both modern and retro. Modern in technique and the use of vellum (today’s paper vellum as opposed to the biblical version), and retro in both subject matter and the use of gouache (with its roughly 600-year history).
As she says in her statement, taken out of context, some of the images from haircutting techniques take on a ghostly presence while others offer snippets of important instruction in the handling of instruments. The expert barber lays the foundation for shaping the haircut with a precise science as well as a philosophy that is prevalent throughout this inspirational textbook. Her fascination with images extruded from scientific manuals continues as she finds the precarious balance between those images and their elevation to fine art.