Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Jennifer Johung


Bogart, Hair, Identity, Photography, Portraiture





Kathleen Tousignant

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2016

Under the Supervision of Professor Jennifer Johung

This exhibition and accompanying catalogue explore Tara Bogart’s modern hair study photographs. Compiled of 28 photographs from 3 different series, Modern Hair Studies examines the correlation between hair and identity. The faceless portraits from her series A Modern Hair Study and Un Capillaire Modern Etude showcase the ways in which millennial women use hair colors, hairstyles, and body art as a form of self-expression. When viewed as a group, the portraits serve as a visual and demographic representation of women in their 20’s. However, when viewed individually, each woman’s uniqueness can be seen in the intimate details of hair and skin. Meanwhile, the photographs from Bogart’s Locks series present fragments of hair given to the artist by women with whom she is closely connected. Devoid of bodies, these works demonstrate the ability of disembodied hair to serve as a surrogate for the person to whom it once belonged.

The intimate, yet obscured female portraits included in Modern Hair Studies ask the viewer to analyze the different historical, sentimental, and scientific significance of hair in order to interpret the women that it adorns. By analyzing the cultural, societal, and fashion conventions surrounding hair, this catalogue introduces ways in which women’s hair has functioned as a means of individual identification, whether it be through its length, color, or style. This will help the viewer navigate the ambiguous portraits as they investigate the corporeal elements that distinguish each of the 28 women from one another.