Department:Cambridge School of Art
Areas of Expertise: Photography
Dawn’s artistic practice encompasses photography, video, installation and performance. She uses photographs of objects and people to question issues of artificiality and idealisation.
Dawn Woolley is a visual artist using photography, video, installation, performance, and sound. She completed an MA in Photography (2008) and PhD by project in Fine Art (2017) at the Royal College of Art. Woolley uses photographs of objects and people to question issues of artificiality and idealisation. Recent exhibitions have included; "Self/Selfie" Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia (2017), "Le Féminin" Circulation(s), Arles (2017), "From Selfie to Self-Expression" Saatchi Gallery, London (2017), "Basically. Forever" Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and "Recollection” Ruimte Morguen Gallery, Antwerp (2014). Solo exhibitions include; "Consumed: Stilled Lives" Dyson Gallery, London (2016); "Visual Pleasure", Hippolyte Photography Gallery, Helsinki, Finland (2013); "Visual Pleasure", Vilniaus Fotografijos Galerija, Lithuania (2012); "Visual Pleasure" at Ffotogallery in Cardiff (2011) and "The Substitute", Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University (2010).
Woolley has written exhibition catalogue essays on visual pleasure and performance (Visual Pleasure), illusion and art (Virtually Real), and self-portraiture and psychoanalysis (Making Love to my Ego). Recent academic publications include 'Aberrant consumers: Selfies and fat admiration websites' Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society, 6(2).
Research specialisms centre on theories of the fetish in psychoanalysis, Marxism and anthropology. Referring to Marxism and psychoanalysis, Dawn explores the relationship between people and objects, and the impact that advertising images have as disseminators of sign value. Taking the term ‘advertisement’ quite loosely, she refers to Dutch still life paintings as adverts for the craft-objects they depict. The body of the consumer is also considered an advert because of the commodities it is adorned with and the socially proscribed ideals it could reinforce. Her research aims to investigate the methods of protest available to the consumer body in advanced capitalism, using the spectrum of eating disordered behaviours and other pathologies as models for disturbance and abstention of consumerism. The impact of social media network sites and the rise of the ubiquitous "selfie" is also considered.
The practical aspect centers on the still life as a type of portrait suggestive of different consumers. Taking her cue from Dutch still life paintings from the seventeenth century that reflected a conflicting relationship to material wealth, she creates still life photographs that also reflect contradictory relationships to consumerism. The outcomes of her research include multiple photographic series, 2 photography books, and public interventions in commercial advertising spaces in cities and on social networking sites.
'Aberrant consumers: Selfies and fat admiration websites' Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society, 6(2).
'The Dissecting Gaze of the ‘Cutting Scalpel Eye’: Fashioned Bodies on Social Networking Sites', The Gaze Revisited: Feminism, Fashion and the Female Body conference. June 2017. Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London.
'Selfies, Attention Economy Workers, and a Dissecting Way of Seeing', Ways of Machine Seeing conference. June 2017. CRASSH, Cambridge University, and Anglia Ruskin University.
Plenary performance paper: ‘Selfie Vanitas’, Talking Bodies Conference. April 2017. University of Chester.
'Hysterical Selfies and the Commercial Construction of Identity on Social Networking Sites’, Visualizing Consumer Culture, Commodifying Visual Culture in the English-speaking World conference. October 2016. Sorbonne University, Paris.
Keynote: 'Selfies: Still Life or Nature Morte', (Dis)Connected Forms: Narratives on the Fractured Self conference. September 2016. Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull.
'Hysterical Selfies and the Commercial Construction of Identity on Social Networking Sites', The Seventh International Conference of the Image. September 2016. John Moore University, Liverpool.
'Hysterical Selfies and Disruptive Bodies', "Let’s Hear It For The Girls": Girlhood, Media and Popular Culture 1990-Present conference. March 2016. University of Warwick.
'Aberrant Consumers', The Body’s Transformations conference. The Body Horror Project, Inter-Disciplinary.Net. August 2015. Mansfield College, Oxford University
'The Iconography of Social Media', Twenty First Century Photography: Art, Philosophy, Technique. June 2015. University of the Arts London, Central saint Martins.
'Disruptive Bodies', Femininities, Masculinities and the Posthuman conference. The Femininities and Masculinities Project, Inter-Disciplinary.Net. April 2015. Dubrovnik, Croatia.
'Bodies that Shout', Talking Bodies: Identity Sexuality and Representation conference. March 2015. University of Chester.
'Commodity-Body-Fetish', Surfaces and Boundaries: The Legacy of Guy Bourdin. March 2015. Somerset House, London.
Panel discussion: with Esther Teichmann and Alison Bancroft, Surfaces and Boundaries: The Legacy of Guy Bourdin. March 2015. Somerset House, London.
'Curb Your Enthusiasm: Art, Philosophy and Censorship' with Professor Stephen Mumford, Philosopher, University of Nottingham. November 2014. Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery.
'Pathological Consumers: Spectacular Bodies in the Nineteenth Century', Gender, Generation and the Body. June 2014. West of England and South Wales Women's History Network, Cardiff University.
'The Pleasure of the Enigma Visual Pleasure', Photography, Performance and Pleasure. 2012. Newport University.
'Visual Pleasure' with Dr. Jo Longhurst, Artist and Leverhulme Fellow, European Centre for Photographic Research, University of Wales, Newport. June 2011. Ffotogallery.