Dawn Woolley

Test Bed | 26 June 2010 - 18 August 2010

'Interloper' examines the act of looking and being looked at - a central theme in Woolley’s work. A photographic double replaces the artist, so that subject becomes object, forcing the viewer to question this boundary from a voyeuristic position.

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Interloper, a short digital video loop, reveals a female figure in an everyday domestic scene. Having made the decision to watch and interpret the situation we, as the viewer, immediately become ‘voyeur’. Accepting what we see as real, our initial reading suddenly collapses when we register that we are in fact looking at a 2-dimensional cut-out of a female figure. The artist has quite literally become the object, using the stereotypically sexual nature of the female body to question the act of looking and being looked at. Interloper requires us to consider established modes of photographic language with particular reference to ‘The Gaze’ and photographic authenticity.

The many modes by which we view and are viewed through visual media are referred to as ‘The Gaze’. Central to visual representation since the inception of photography, ’The Gaze’ remains a widely explored subject, not least by some of visual language’s key theorists such as Susan Sontag, John Berger and Michel Foucault. Photographic authenticity shares a similar stature and one of increasing significance as we progress further into this digital age. Beyond ‘The Gaze’, Interloper goes on to explore how our relationship to the female figure might change once we become aware that we are in fact looking at an inanimate object. At the same time the video questions our belief in the integrity of the 3-dimensional objects that are suggested by the 2-dimensional surface.

Oriel Davies is grateful to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for their generous support of this initiative.

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Supporting new and experimental work by artists based in Wales and the Borders.

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