Shana Hoehn: A Tangle of Limbs and Long Hair

Installation Views
Press release

“Later at your house, alternating between gossip and silence, we laid in your blood-stained floral sheets as a tangle of limbs and long hair. It was 2AM. I laid awake, holding you as you drifted off and the radio continued to blast Miss Independent and In Da Club. You couldn't sleep without the noise.”---excerpt from Your Arch, essay by Shana Hoehn, 2020


Make Room Los Angeles is proud to present A Tangle of Limbs and Long Hair, a new series of sculptures and drawings by the Los Angeles-based artist Shana Hoehn. The title comes from a line in the artist’s autobiographical essay, Your Arch (2020), which reflects on growing up in the rural American South and the interplay of fantasy and political oppression as told through iconic images of arched backs. The selection of works in this exhibition continues to touch on themes of death, sexuality, and adolescence, set within humid landscapes such as swamps and ditches.


Working with diverse media such as cast aluminum from 3D printed molds, hand-carved wood, and colored pencil on rice paper, Hoehn’s latest work is a testament to her masterful storytelling through iconic forms. In “Breast Bracket #3 with Flower,” an Art Deco-inspired bracket fuses with a human breast, forming both an autonomous torso and utilitarian support hardware. Hoehn inserts a cast aluminum lily, evocative of a strap-on or a metal rod you might find in such flagpole mounts.


The motifs of isolated limbs, braids, and other human body parts function as symbolic extensions of the body that take on a sense of agency and independent significance of their own. For Hoehn, braids recall images of her girlhood psyche, virginity, and control. In her words, "the large disembodied braids in (these works) become snakes, tentacles, strong ropes, cocoons, mouths, wombs or other body cavities. They swallow and are swallowed. They enact their own desires. " In "A Tangle of Limbs and Long Hair," a body is revealed through a split-open eight-foot tall flaccid, wooden braid. Like other works in the show, it is uncertain who the protagonists are and, therefore, what exactly is taking place—-perhaps regeneration and or digestion.


This imagery continues in her series of unique colored pencil drawings on rice paper, made through freehand drawing and rubbing a colored pencil over intricately carved wooden templates. In "Study For Seance: hair and vomit," the same conic shape describes vomit/ectoplasm and a ponytail, appearing symmetrically on both sides of the head as if impaled by these soft forms. Hoehn's work functions as double imagery; multiple dynamics are at play and all simultaneously plausible.


This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, as well as her first with Make Room. The opening reception will take place on September 17th from 6-8 p.m. PST, and the exhibition will remain on view until October 15th.


Shana Hoehn (b. 1991, Texarkana, TX, USA) lives and works in Los Angeles. Hoehn has received fellowships and participated in residencies, including a Fulbright Fellowship in Mexico (2013-2014), Artpace International Artist in Residence in San Antonio (2021), the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, Netherlands (2019-2020), Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2013), the Core Program at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2016-18), and SOMA Summer in Mexico City (2016), among others. She was awarded the 2018 Meredith Long Prize from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in 2016. Selected exhibitions include those at Simon Lee Gallery, London; Art Pace, San Antonio; Euqinom Gallery, San Francisco; Contemporary Art Museum Houston; Lodos Gallery, Mexico City, MX; Vox Populi, Philadelphia; Make Room, Los Angeles; Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston; and P.Bibeau, New York, NY. Forthcoming exhibitions include a group exhibition at the Blaffer Museum in Houston. Hoehn received her MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Sculpture and Extended Media and earned a BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art.