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Indepth Arts News:

"Shari Hatt: New Work - Fancy Panting, Mr. Showmanship Shares Spotlight with Dog Portraits"
2002-09-06 until 2002-11-16
Plug In
Winnipeg, MB, CA Canada

Canadian photographer Shari Hatt brings her most recent work to Plug In ICA next month, continuing her investigations of photographic tradition and pop culture. Well-known in Montreal and Las Vegas for her offbeat Elvis Museum, Hatt has turned her lens on another much-loved performer Liberace. The exhibition pairs documentation from the rhinestoned pianist‚s museum with her most popular series ever, Dogs. Both series constitute a smart reinvention of celebrity, with Hatt‚s trademark attention to the details of our favourite social obsessions.

Liberace's Closet, all-new work created with the cooperation of the world-famous Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, provides an intimate glimpse of the star's stunning collection of costumes. A gifted working-class artist who reinvented himself as an object of adoration for millions of fans, Liberace set the bar for conspicuous consumption, equating success with excess but never without a sense of generosity. Hatt's portraits muse on Liberace‚s gender-fluidity - his appeal to the middle-aged ladies he resembled veiled his private homosexuality. The glittering façade of this showbiz legend challenges our continued fascination with the private lives of the very famous.

With the head-and-shoulders shots that constitute the ongoing series Dogs, Hatt inserts, in quite straightforward fashion, an unconventional subject matter into the conventions of photographic portraiture. Her close attention to dogs in their specific, abundant uniqueness cuts across the anthropomorphism of much pet‚ photography in art and amateur photography alike. At the same time, the photos bring forward issues that circulate around genre, taste, celebrity culture, the Œhigh/low‚ divide and cultural mediation of the animal Œother‚. In a brand-new four-channel video installation entitled Caught, Hatt will also consider the lives of big zoo cats. This work serves as a critical reflection on the relationship between the public and the entertainment function of zoos. "Zoos are today's cabinets of curiosity and as such perpetuate colonialist and Eurocentric attitudes." While in Winnipeg, Hatt will complete the Dogs series with an open call for all-black and all-white dog models. For more information, please contact Hope or Jenny at 942-1043.

Shari Hatt is a photo-based artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her iconographic sources extend from the art historical to popular culture. Hatt has exhibited her work in Canada and the U.S. since 1993. She is the current recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Photography Prize. The Art Bank, Museum London, The Cygnet Foundation and the Banff Centre for the Arts have recently acquired work from the Dogs series for their collections.

Shari Hatt, Unititled (Bob), 1999

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