Kay Knight

oil on canvas
12 x 12 in.

Image collecting is a complex and active process. It is also a form of self-analysis, in that what one collects consciously and unconsciously becomes a visual representation of one’s own mind. Six years ago, I began collecting images from old magazines dating 1940’s to 60’s as “Popular Mechanics”, “Popular Science”, “Home Journal” and other related material. Most of the imagery was photographic, schematic drawings or illustration format that depicted stereotyped male and female roles and relationships.

This series “Do’s (Hairdos)” began in response to memories of my mother’s saying about the pain of trying to be beautiful “it hurts to be pretty”. This was her favorite response to my tears as she combed out the rats in my wet hair. Also, when she would braid my hair too tight she would repeat the phrase. The source used was the schematic drawings of hairdos based from a 1950s “The Van Dean Manual, professional training for beauticians”.

As the work progressed, I soon realized that my female images were not reflecting pain but grace and patience. With the eyes closed shut there seems to be a sense of peace or centering that is taking place within each head. Maybe the work is not about “Do’s (Hairdos)” but about honor of pain for the do’s of womanhood and beauty in life.

© Kay Knight