Understanding Narrative Through "The Gaze"
Haley Hasler's self-portraits elevate the mundane to the level of allegory. Depicted wearing costumes and balancing props of contemporary domestic life—plates and children's toys, toddlers and snacks—Hasler emerges as an archetypal female negotiating the roles of mother, wife, and individual. Rich with patterns and symbols, her detailed self-portraits distantly recall Botticelli's Birth of Venus (1485), in which the female figure offers stability amid the surrounding elements. In works such as Portrait as an Allegory of Fidelity (2010), Hasler appears remarkably serene given the chaos she inhabits. In this painting, she holds a small child in one arm and carries a plate on which sits a live chicken in the other. Wearing a taffeta party dress, she balances one foot on the family dog. Despite this, her gaze appears steady and controlled—the stare of a modern-day heroine.
American, b. 1971