Artist Statement

by Terry Niedzialek, 2007

At the apex of our bodies, where we touch the sky, hair is a symbolic expression of self hood. My hair sculptures are an extension of the body and the human spirit, personifying the human condition. Hair is a magical substance that grows from us like trees grow from the earth. Hair sculpture parades our identities and empowers us. The creation of a hair sculpture is a ritual of personal and planetary transformation in which I express the connections among humans, the earth and the life force, and the healing power of such connections. The experience is fun and energizing!

Hair sculpture is an artistic journey into ancient memory. The act of grooming, since prehistory, has been an interactive bonding experience, a communal ritual, ordinary but transcendent. This universal art form offers a message of connection to many cultures, from aboriginal hair creations to Marie Antoinette’s wig replica of Benjamin Franklin’s ship. Hair itself has always been a part of life and artful expression.

Hair sculpture transcends boundaries of culture, the plastic arts, performance and fashion. It is a multicultural and interdisciplinary art combining sculpture on live models, wigs, photography, performance and costume. It explores the arts, beauty, and ritual, spiritual, healing and social issues. Working within a community lends itself to creating site-specific sculptures that reflect the surrounding environment, ourselves and our relationship to that environment. Hair sculpture touches on the everyday, connecting issues, people and the earth; it can change the viewers’ perception of the earth, the world around them and themselves.
Live sculpture gives people the opportunity to be become a work of art. Individuals may either have a sculpture created “live” with their own hair or model a pre-made wig.

I was greatly inspired by being part of the East Village art scene in the 1980’s. I began creating hair sculptures, drawing from the subject matter of New York images that are embedded in me--the Twin Towers, Williamsburg Bridge, Lilco Power Plant, suburbs of Levittown, L.I. and the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant. Galleries such as “Avenue B Gallery” and “Jus de Pomme” nurtured my--body as art--self expression.

Now, I create organic images of aspects of Mother Earth. They are life giving.