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 trained as a fine art printmaker, before completing an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art. Her art practice encompasses photography, video, installation and performance. She uses photographs of objects and people to question issues of artificiality and idealisation. Recent artwork centres on still life photography as a type of portrait suggestive of different consumers. Taking her cue from Dutch still life paintings from the seventeenth century, she creates still life photographs that describe contradictory relationships to commodity culture. Because her artwork references commercial advertising still life photography she frequently presents her work in the commercial / public domain. In her ‘Consume’ project she presented still life on billboards, and is currently developing a body of work to be presented on social media websites.
Her recent exhibitions include: 'Basically. Forever' (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography) and 'Recollection' (Ruimte Morguen Gallery, Antwerp, 2014). Her solo exhibitions include: 'Visual Pleasure' (Hippolyte Photography Gallery, Helsinki, Finland, 2013); 'Visual Pleasure' (Vilniaus Fotografijos Galerija, Lithuania, 2012); 'Visual Pleasure' (Ffotogallery, Cardiff, 2011), 'The Substitute', (Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University, 2010; South Square Gallery, Bradford, 2009; The Lighthouse Art Centre in Wolverhampton, 2006).
Research specialisms centre on theories of the fetish in psychoanalysis, Marxism and anthropology. The broad aim of her PhD research is to articulate a form of consumer fetishism that is not based on sexual difference but historicised as a capitalist pathology.
Referring to Marxism and psychoanalysis, she explores the relationship between people and objects, and the impact that advertising images have as disseminators of sign value. The 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 of and abstention from consumerism.
'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.