Arthouse1 Gallery London
Extract from The Bishop Stares essay by Geraint Evans.
'Sasha's ‘Hairy Interventions’ oscillate between visions of unspeakable strangeness, grotesque assemblages, humorous and absurd appendages that echo surrealist objects. They also remind us of the complex social and cultural associations of hair in terms of identity, beauty, convention, gender and religion. Hair elicits a range of responses from desire to disgust and historically, locks of hair were offered as tokens of love, kept as mementos of the deceased or enshrined as saintly relics. Hair occupies a unique position within our own bodies – both familiar and other.
In another series of work, hand fashioned white clay objects are riven through with braids and strands of hair. They carry the physical impressions of their making but also resemble fragments of bone. On closer inspection, we begin to pick out parts of the human body from these modest biomorphic forms: buttocks, limbs and arching backbones. The holes through which the hair is threaded then begin to suggest human orifices: mouths and anuses.
There is a sense of craft and careful intention within Sasha’s 3d objects. The hair does not sprout in an unkempt fashion, it is carefully braided and looped, more suggestive of relics or curious museum artefacts than imagined animated beings. Sasha underlines this point by presenting these objects within the museum vitrine, suggesting a sort of collection that is designed to provoke curiosity and wonder through display.
The museum, the collection, display and the art historical artefact are recurrent themes in Sasha’s work, exemplified by her wonderfully odd painterly embellishments on reproductions of 17th century portraits from the Spanish Court. The sitters’ heads are replaced by coloured balls, garlands of flowers, fur or arrangements of hair that emanate from dark and terrifying voids. These paintings are rendered in such a skilful fashion that they seduce the viewer, demanding that we take a closer look. Sasha works with oil paint into found prints, book illustrations and postcards in ‘collaboration’ with the works’ original and unwitting authors.'