Iris Hauser has been active as an artist for over 30 years. With her latest exhibit of lushly painted portraits Dress Codes on at the Art Gallery of Regina until Oct. 11, she delves deep into the lives and personalities of long-time models who have worked with her in her Saskatoon studio.
As David Garneau observes in his curatorial essay, many of Hauser’s models have backgrounds in the performing arts as actors, dancers, musicians and even drag queens. As such, they’re used to putting their private selves on display in public settings.
Portraiture, as an art form, inevitably involves a degree of collaboration between the artist and subject. In Dress Codes, Hauser expands this dynamic by allowing her subjects, through their choice of clothing, props and poses, to have significant input into how they were represented.
As the artist, though, Hauser still had the final say on the composition of her portraits. Without fail each subject makes eye contact with the viewer — not in an aggressive way, but their willingness to engage with us (through Hauser) does force us to confront the voyeuristic dynamic playing out in the gallery.
Hauser will speak about her work at the Art Gallery of Regina on Wednesday Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m.