Saturday, April 20, 2013
A ghostly black-and-white visage gazes solemnly out of Susan Hauptman’s life-size photorealistic self-portraits. Assuming various ambiguously gendered identities—dressed in clownish garb, a negligee, or conventional dress, and usually sporting a buzz-cut—Hauptmann subverts traditional representations of the female form, at once embodying and undermining gender stereotypes. Absurdist motifs and objects recur in Hauptman’s work, sometimes assuming symbolic value: a vase or a birthday cake, her dog or the face of her husband. In its more androgynous, sexualized iterations, Hauptman’s self-portraiture has drawn comparisons with Otto Dix’s depictions of prostitutes.