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March 2006

How does an artist respond to a body made unfamiliar and out of control? I started Hair Stories after my breast cancer diagnosis. From the chaotic realm of illness and uncertainty, I produced a post-chemotherapy series of self-portraits through weekly photographs. Using the ordered structure and language of minimalism and scientific documentation, I challenged the disorder I confronted. My photographs examine the steady resumption of natural processes and the surprise of new hair growth. In the accompanying flipbook and voiceover, hair images (sequential, impersonal, and almost anonymous) are combined and contrasted with stories (vivid, personal, and anachronistic) that explore hair in the context of my personal history.

Hair Stories has been exhibited at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts; The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, New York; Wesleyan University; Simmons College; Portland State University; and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Karin Stack's drawings, prints, and photographs have been exhibited throughout the country. She earned a BA with honors from Wesleyan University and an MFA from Colorado State University. Awards include a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant and fellowships from the Ragdale and Vermont Studio Center. She has also taught at Amherst College and Wellesley College.

Hair Stories © 2002 Karin Stack (

Image Credit: Karin Stack

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