Shari Hatt wants to be taken seriously as an artist in show at Space Station Sixty Five

By Ruth Hazard | 07 April 2012
A picture of a clown with green hair and nose holding a ukelele
Ukulele Louie, from Hatt's Clown Portrait series© Shari Hatt
Exhibition: Shari Hatt, I just want to be taken seriously as an artist… etc, Space Station 65, London, until May 25 2012

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from coulrophobia (a fear of clowns) then this is probably not the exhibition for you.

At the centrepiece of the display by Canadian visual artist, Shari Hatt, is a provocative photographic series, Clown Portraits, which features striking, close up images of the much-feared circus entertainers.

The clown figure, an emblem of ridicule and entertainment, is used by the artist as the subject of her work as a device to question the line between art and spectacle.

A picture of a man with a clown face in a tie and underwear and a female clown stood against a turqoise studio backdrop
Hatt's latest work The Studio Visit (video still)© 2012 Shari Hatt
I just want to be taken seriously as an artist…, the accompanying video from which the exhibition takes its name, shows Hatt "clowning around", making an attempt at humour.

She deliberately leaves the jokes to fall flat, putting the viewer in an uncomfortable place and confronting them to challenge their expectations with a powerful work that is unwilling to comply.

The space will also be showing her UK Dog Portrait Series, which was originally produced for exhibition at The Public Gallery in the West Midlands.

Like the clowns, the dogs are pictured in the same headshot style, staring directly into the lens to create almost human looking images.

These are a telling view of the person behind the project. Shari Hatt credits her displays as a collaborative effort with soft sculptor artist Garry-Lewis James Osterberg- her pet Chihuahua. Apparently he also has a sideline as an Iggy Pop tribute dancer.

Since the Dog Portraits were first showcased in 2009 their popularity has seen Hatt gain a diverse fan base who have commissioned her to photograph their dogs in the same style- one request coming from the late Alexander McQueen.

The exhibition will also feature Hatt’s latest video, The Studio Visit, and her new watercolours, Disappointing Paintings.

Dogs (on leashes) are welcome to attend.

  • Open Thursday-Sunday 12pm-6pm or by appointment. Admission free.
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