Stepping into Hardware Gallery for Melanie Boreham’s new show, The Departed, was an otherworldly experience. The entire top gallery was filled with small platforms of felted human hair, suspended in the air, sprouting delicate trees which created a forest waiting to be navigated.
This installation, whilst seemingly simple, was beautifully interactive. People ducked and weaved and dodged their way amongst the trees. Each bump or breeze created movement in the work.
Boreham’s use of hair in her work allows her to exploit a depth of emotion that other, perhaps more sterile, mediums would not. In her statement she explains that “hair was chose for its particular quality of being simultaneously enticing and repulsive”. She explores ideas of attachment, protection and vanity.
The conceptual basis for this exhibition was bizzare yet universally relevant. We all have weird relationships with our hair (or lack thereof), be it the emotional attachment that is felt when it is cut or changed in some way, or the physical nature of it as we are forced to clean it from a floor or sink. Melanie uses these associations with hair to further explore themes of separation, loss and loneliness.
The downstairs space was dedicated to a series of paintings, drawings, video work and sculpture, all further exploring human hair.
The exhibition was opened by gallery director Lew Palaitis and art critic Andrew Frost. Both discussed their close connections with Boreham and the evolution of her work.
A nice crowd turned up to enjoy the show. Go check this one out if you have the chance, there’s no lice!