Dawn Woolley

Artist, Lecturer / academic, Researcher
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Primarily my artwork is self-portraiture, but not in the traditional sense. In the work I create a photographic copy of myself and photograph it in my place. She becomes a substitute and my visual representative. My work forms an enquiry into the act of looking and being looked at. Referring to psychoanalysis and phenomenology I examine my own experience of becoming an object of sight and also consider the experience the viewer has when looking at me as a photographic object. By producing artwork that establishes me as an object it could be argued that I reinforce stereotypical images of the female body (Substitutes 2007 and Beneath the Surface 2007/08). But by depicting my body as an image I am able to suggest my presence while confirming my absence. The man who is being deceived, he seems satisfied by the encounter, with a reciprocating being who can’t reciprocate, because she is only a representation. Their relationship symbolises the fictitious nature of idealisation. There is a suspension of disbelief taking place in the seemingly gratifying embrace of the male; and the viewing public colludes in it, seeing image and body simultaneously. In my current work (Interloper 2008) I have continued to play on this illusion of reality and idealisation, using installation and video. This work does not recount the relationship between a man and a woman but places the viewer in direct interaction with the cut-out. The overtly sexual nature of the cut-out compels the viewer into the position of voyeur, only to reveal itself as an inanimate object. There is a strong performative aspect to my work and it is often difficult to determine whether the photographs are the artworks or documents of performances that have already taken place. This ambiguousness allows me to play with the conventions of photography. read full statement

Location Cardiff, Wales
Activities Higher education, Practice-based research, Residencies, Private commissions, Critical writing
Artforms Film & Video, Installation, Performance, Photography, Research
Website http://www.dawnwoolley.com

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