May 3 – June 5, 2019
Haley Hasler is a storyteller, in the long tradition of stories told through fairy tales, legends, fantasies and seen through the lens of Western art history. Her work has a theatrical bent, a sense of pageantry – something put on partly for entertainment, partly as a morality tale. Like the boy Max in Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” we journey from safe domesticity to a place of untamed abandon. In Sendak’s story, Max tames the beasts, but ends up longing for motherly love, and so returns home. Hasler’s paintings play out a similar story about the human impulse to bring the wild under our control (and often the folly of that notion) set in the context of domestic comfort.
In all of this, Hasler inserts herself as the chief actor in each scenario. Her personage stands at the center of swirling scenes combining the richness of the Spanish bodegón, the 17th century Dutch still life, the Renaissance landscape and the contemporary accoutrements of domestic life. She is womanhood, positioned at the center of a narrative consisting of children, husband, pets, objects and the great outdoors. These scenes are over-the-top in abundance, visually resplendent, fanciful. They are almost too much for words.
Hasler’s paintings have been the subject of museum shows at the Museum of Art, Fort Collins (2018) and the Nicolaysen Art Museum (2013). Her work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions at institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, FL; the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA; the Danforth Art Museum, Framingham, MA and the Brattleboro Museum of Art, VT to name a few. Hasler received her BFA from Indiana University and her MFA from Boston University. This is her 4th exhibition with Alpha Gallery.