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Dawn Woolley


 My artistic practice encompasses photography, video and installation. In my artwork I create a photographic cut-out of myself and re-photograph it in the real world.


I intend to make it difficult to distinguish the 2-dimensional photograph from the surrounding scene. My work is increasingly concerned with the experience of the viewer and I attempt to define a direct relationship between the cut-out and the person looking at it. In the first instance of looking I hope to create a state of familiar acceptance of what the viewer is seeing, followed by an uncanny  moment when the oddity of the image is registered, and finally a state where the implied reading collapses, the cut-out becomes visible to the viewer and the image is read in new terms.


My artwork forms an enquiry into the act of looking and being looked at. Referring to psychoanalysis, phenomenology and feminism 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 female, and a photographic object. Voyeurism and exhibitionism intertwine in these purposefully provocative scenes.


By producing artwork that establishes me as an object it could be argued that I reinforce stereotypical images of the female body, but by depicting my body as an image I am able to suggest my presence while confirming my absence. There is a suspension of disbelief taking place in the viewing public, as they want to see image and body simultaneously. The overtly sexual nature of the body compels the viewer into the position of voyeur, only to reveal itself as an inanimate object. This wilful delusion is inherent to the medium of photography – the desire to look at a 2-dimensional photograph and believe in the integrity of the 3-dimensional objects that are suggested by the surface.

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