Kirsten McCrea visited Struts & Faucet from February 23 to March 20, 2015 as part of the Open Studio artist in residence program. While at Struts & Faucet, she worked on a body of multimedia works: Werewolf Ladies. Beginning with research into hirsutism and depictions of excessive female hairiness, McCrea utilized collage, drawing, painting, and inkjet printing to create portraits that depict the tropes of performative femininity pushed to a polar extreme. Her work seeks to cultivate and reclaim hair as both camouflage and ornament.
McCrea says, “Hair is a signifier of power. Think of the myth of Samson losing his locks, the civil rights movement and rise of the afro, the punk scene and mohawks, or the liminal werewolf, transforming with each sprouting follicle into something terrifyingly strong. Women are nearly universally taught to either cover their hair, shave it, burn it off, tear it out, or otherwise tame it. By creating a feminist response to the consistently masculine folkloric werewolf, my portraits aim to highlight how hair is used as a signifier of identity, sexual orientation, economic status and power.”
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Kirsten McCrea is a Canadian artist who landed in Montreal for a few years en route to her current home in Toronto. In Montreal she honed her drawing skills in the city’s bustling collaborative art scene, making large scale drawings alongside dozens of artists, occasionally indoors but often in the city streets.
Her multi-disciplinary art practice encompasses painting, drawing, print, publishing, and installation, with an eye to bright colours, temporal experiences, and accessible endeavours. In 2008 she founded the affordable art subscription Papirmass, which has sent over 45,000 prints by 100+ artists and writers to thousands of people around the world.
Named one of the Top 30-Under-30 artists in Canada by Blouin Artinfo, her work has exhibited in Toronto’s AGO, Montreal’s Musée des Beaux Arts, and the Shanghai International Arts Festival, and has appeared in numerous publications, including The Globe and Mail, Canadian Art, and BUST Magazine. She lives with her husband and collaborator Jp King.
This residency was made possible through support from the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, and the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage, and Culture.