Part biography and part theater, Haley Hasler's paintings depict ordinary life in extraordinary, exaggerated circumstances. She uses the self-portrait as a way to access the personal within the archetypal heroine. Through these iconic forms, she investigates artifice versus reality, interior versus exterior, and creator versus creation. The faces of her portraits convey the bewilderment and fatigue of young motherhood in turbulent surroundings elaborately and fastidiously executed.
Her work, which often includes depictions of her husband and children, explores the challenges facing a twenty-first century woman as she seeks to balance her roles as mother, wife, and individual. Although she portrays modern scenarios of juggling multiple tasks and children simultaneously, her paintings allude to Renaissance compositions updated for contemporary allegories. Festooned in traditional ornamental attire, she contorts herself into precarious poses to dress, feed, and entertain her loved ones, sometimes adopting mythical roles as tooth fairy and adventurer.
Realistic still lifes of domestic artifacts-glasses, plates, food, toys, furniture, and flowers-are set against magical and surrealist backdrops. Hasler depicts the joy and humor of family life through carnival colors, extravagant costumes, and elaborate surroundings. “I conceive of a painting as a kind of theater,” she wrote in her artist statement, “a stage set for my characters and protagonists.”
Born in 1971, the Colorado native studied painting at Indiana University and earned an MFA from Boston University. Hasler has received numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright Grant, and is a three-time winner of the Elizabeth Greenshields Award. Her work has appeared in the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming; Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, South Carolina; EVOKE Contemporary in Sante Fe, New Mexico; and Andrews Gallery at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Represented by Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery in Sag Harbor, New York, and Alpha Gallery in Boston, Hasler's art was included in the juried exhibition-in-print New American Paintings West.
Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.