Ian van Coller photographs @ Holter Museum of Art

The Holter Museum of Art in Helena will be exhibiting Interior Relations, a thought-provoking collection of sixteen photographic portraits by Bozeman photographer Ian van Coller, beginning on February 27 and showing through April 19. The richly-colorful yet sometimes somber photographs depict South African domestic workers in their employers’ homes, at often unmanageable distances from the workers’ own homes and families. Taken together, the portraiture explores the complexities of identity that all South Africans face post-Apartheid. A reception with the artist is scheduled from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. on February 27.

For the project, van Coller asked the subjects to wear their favorite clothing and accessories, rather than the plain housecoats and jumpsuits that typify their jobs as housecleaners and childcare workers and gardeners. He encouraged each to become active participants in making their portraits, to facilitate expression of their own aesthetics and identities within the contradictory context. Viewers of the portrait series might initially mistake the subjects as property owners, but upon further attention to the accompanying wall texts will confront the clash of realities permeating that country today—in a fashion parallel to the artist’s own experience.

On Saturday, March 7, van Coller will give an Artist Talk at 10:30 a.m. Then at 11:15 a.m., he will participate in the panel discussion, Creating Ourselves: On Race and Culture, with Holter Cultural Crossroads Artist in Residence Michael Dixon and others, moderated by IR reporter Martin Kidston. Visit holtermuseum.org for directions and other information. Van Coller’s work can also be seen at www.ianvancoller.com.