MAIN SPACE EXHIBITION
OCTOBER 11 – NOVEMBER 2, 1996
RECEPTION: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1996 AT 8 PM
LOCATION – STRIDE GALLERY
722, 11 AVE S.W, CALGARY, ALBERTA
THE JUBILATION OF EVE by artist Shari Hatt, is a body of work which centers on the re-visioning of Eve and the rejection of her negative symbolism. Presented by Hatt as a true anarchist, Eve was the first woman to challenge the patriarchal garden of Eden in her quest for knowledge, and uppon eating the forbridden fruit realized she was no less than man.
This exhibition is intended to critique the tradition of the female nude by presenting the woman photgraphed as they are.By re-working the traditional imagery, Hatt rejects a singular definition for women and creates a multitude of Eve, to reflect upon the reality of women’s lived experience.
SHARI HATT’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums in Canada and the United States.She was a Celanese International Research Fellow at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, has been an Artist in Residence at theBanff Centre for the Arts on numerous occasions as well as at the St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre in Winnipeg, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography and cinema from Concordia University in Montreal.
THE JUBILATION OF EVE (1992)
As moral storm clouds gather on the horizon and a superstitious world totters on the brink of the millennium, photographer Shari Hatt reinvisions the beginning of time. Eve – the quintessential first lady – is seen as a maverick. Her six, vivid life-size images propose a revolutionary army of Eves presiding over their emancipation. Hatt depicts each as an original and – perhaps even more dangerously – as part of a radical collective. Eve is reinterpreted as an “anarchist” – a social warrior waging war in the patriarchal state. These brave, new Eves are formed not in the image (or imagining) of Man/God but in the multifaceted image of woman/goddess. Conspiring with her models, Hatt hijacks this Christian icon from the Church and liberates her from the ling, tiresome history of the male gaze.
Political though Hatt’s art is, she moves beyond a didactic, feminist critique of history. Though THE JUBILATION OF EVE is contextualized by the history of religious art, her work is lent a potent lyricism by her infestations into the intimate nature of portraiture. Collaborating closely with her models, Hatt captures form, incorporating them into her ever growing army of Original Women.
Each colour image of Eve is faced by a black and white portrait that identifies the model by name, reaffirming her individuality. The women’s eyes are closed, droplets if water cling to eyelashes ad sparkling rivulets trickle down their necks. Freed from a historically homogenizing iconography by this baptism, they look inward to define themselves.
As each woman takes control of the visual representation of her body, the politics of representation are neutered. Her closed eyes defy prying gazes, keeping her personal identity private. Even naked in the role of Eve, each woman’s identity is wrapped in the concealing fabric of myth. Individual identity is revealed to be an intimate affair, but collective identity becomes open to redefinition by those who dare to manipulate it’s iconography to create new ideals.
Each woman informs a symbol with her own personality, contributing to the birth of a new collective identity. Hatt envisions Eve as a rebel, on the rag and in charge of her destiny. As prototypes her new icons, they are fearless in their sexuality, proclaiming their independence from history. This Eve will not be damned. The mythical curse decreed by a vengeful God, is the blood that ties her to the cycles of nature and to the sisterhood of women. These Eves are shameless, no leaves are needed to hide a jubilant Eves’ womanhood.
Hatt’s models are celebrated for their unique qualities, even as they stand in fro an icon that is only surpassed by the Madonna and the Mona Lisa in popularity. She blasts notions of one, singular Eve with her individualized portraits, and each woman photographed takes her place in forging a new voice for Eve within the context of social and art history.
The eleongated limbs of Hatt’s contemporary Eves hint at the stylized, sophisticated aesthetic of 16th Century Mannerism. In these images of Eve there remains a romanticism, a longing for the garden before the fall. Each figure seems to float against the blue background, free from the laws of gravity, she levitates among the vines like an ephemeral angel or ghost. It is not lost innocence that Hatt longs for, but a reclaiming of long forgotten knowledge – the knowledge that embraces the individual and collective power of the sisterhood of the blood.