In his third solo exhibition at Laura Mars Gallery, Thomas Hauser shows black/white photographs from a series of portraits titled KUENSTLERINNEN (female artists).
KUENSTLERINNEN features women in varying outfits—from fully dressed to nude—seated on chairs. Hauser’s women, with their unabashed stares into the camera, claim to hide nothing, yet within their faces the viewer detects surprise. Their secrets are not so crude as to be made obvious in the photos, but because of the way Hauser situates each model, each is distanced from both the viewer and herself; creating a hidden dialogue.
The beauty of the model lies in her ignorance. None of the girls know what they are supposed to hide, and yet all of them keep their eyes wide open, staring, daring, even, the viewer to search. Thus, the mastery of Hauser’s latest collection is what the viewer doesn’t see. The model sits veiled before the camera, making her both distant and unbelievably familiar. In this way Hauser’s photos establish another layer of intimacy—the viewer and the viewer—between the parts of oneself that one hides and the parts one accentuates. These women act as mirrors of human beauty’s frail ordinariness. Each blatant image offers a hint of sensitivity. That hint is where the viewers sits, like these women, exactly where Hauser wants: contemplating the beauty of what looks normal, and knowing that true simplicity cannot be common. For beauty is never ordinary, even in its nakedness.