Veiled Probes  |  Haley Kattner Allen


“The most prominent statement of my childhood is,
‘Haley, put your hair behind your ears.’”


January 3 – February 8, 2014
Opening reception: January 3, 2014, Fri,  8pm


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The “Becoming” in Veiled Probes
by Araya Vivorakij

The narrative in Veiled Probes begins with “The most prominent statement of my childhood is, ‘Haley, put your hair behind your ears.’” That sounded like a constant reminder from her mother. I imagine Haley would pause in the mid of a physical engagement or sport in order to do what she was told before getting back into her activity. This pause — this discontinuity — which might have appeared to be no more than an inconvenience at the time, may in fact engender what Iris Marion Young calls “discontinuous unity” with the lived feminine body and its surroundings. Young explains, in her well-known essay “Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment, Motility, and Spatiality,” that woman is trained to divide her attention between the task to be performed in her surroundings and the body. Instead of fully engaging in the world as a subject, feminine bodily existence is also an object for itself as she posits her motion as the motion that is looked at. Evidently, this constant reminder from the well-intentioned mother was aimed at preparing the child to become a woman — whose lived experience means being constantly self-conscious of her own appearance, as well as being the object of the gaze of another. Her power and agency may be restrained as she becomes, as Young puts it, “the potential object of another subject’s intentions and manipulations, rather than as a living manifestation of action and intention.”

Haley’s narrative continues in her series of photographic images, entitled Pink Coat Blue Glove; A Different Grape, That’s Not My Chandelier; Favorites; Veins/Arteries, Cornered; Hiding Place, Yucca; On Slab of Concrete, Rose on Curb; Art and My Shoes; Remove. The titles resonate like some sort of girlish game, ramifying from Haley’s written statement of her childhood. Most importantly, these titles resonate with the assertions of individual identity, like a way of annoucing, claiming and differentiating the self through one’s preferences, experience and personal effects. The objects and places portrayed in Haley’s photographic images are seemingly banal, insignificant, and unrelated, yet they can be associated with, so to speak, femininity. These “feminine” objects are often haphazardly juxtaposed with images of a woman’s body. And the body is always in part, always incomplete.

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