I was intimately familiar with all of the subjects in Portland-based artist Lisa Jarrett's show, House/Field/Home at Wa Na Wari. Stray strands of Kanekalon, hairnets, hairbags, bits of hair fastidiously thread through needles or pressed between paper or retooled to become abstract shapes. As I'm typing this in bed, I can spot at least one little tuft of my coily hair near my dresser from when I twisted my hair a few days ago, ready in my mind to be discarded and thought of no more.
But in her work, Jarrett calls attention to the objects and little bits of self that would normally be thrown away, finding an essential part of ourselves in these things. In "Migration Studies (No. 2)" Jarrett cleverly hints at both motion and Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series, which was a comprehensive visual history of the mass movement of Black people from the south to the north.
In Jarrett's rendition, her piece doesn't capture people, but hairnets. Delicately trapped between Mulberry paper, a cheap hairnet that might be worn to bed seems to tumble down the throat of a pyramid in slow motion, peeking out at the very edge of the piece. Though it's a bit more abstract, this "Migration Studies (No. 2)"—and all of Jarrett's hair-based work—manages to document important parts of the body and culture, too.
Seattle Deconstructed Art Fair is coming to an end this week, but House/Field/Home at Wa Na Wari—as well as several other exhibitions in the house—will continue until the end of next month. The space will also hold a virtual artist talk with Jarrett on September 1 at 6 pm. Don't miss it.