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‘Extensions’ creates hairy sensation at Chemeketa’s Bldg. 3 Art Gallery

Nicloe Hernandez_By_Brad_Bakke__no1_January 28, 2015

By Mike Boni – Photo by Brad Bakke

“Extensions,” an installation by Chemeketa graduate Nicole Hernandez, is currently on display in the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery in Bldg. 3.

Hernandez’s paintings, including a group of handmade oversized braids covering the wall and floor, are a hairy sensation and different fare from what you would normally expect to see at the gallery.

The work may cause the casual viewer to ponder the role that hair plays in American culture and society for girls and women.

“It was only a few years ago that I realized my hair received more praise than I did,” Hernandez said in her Artist Statement. “Up until I understood the insignificance of these admirations, I felt relief knowing that my countless daily rituals were not done in vain.

“This began my interest in the obsession we as a culture have with hair and its contribution to the female identity within our society.”

Perhaps not since the 1979 musical-movie “Hair” has so much been made about hair.

“I was 12 when I received my first true haircut. Two fat braids were tragically hacked off with flimsy metal scissors. The rest of the afternoon was spent in tears, and I have since held reservations about doing it again,” Hernandez said.

“ ‘Extensions’ questions the feminine ideals that are imposed on girls and women, and those which we often inflict on ourselves.”

The show runs until Feb. 13 on Chemeketa’s Salem campus.

The Art Gallery’s hours run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For further information, stop by the gallery or call 503-399-2533.

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