Open Eye – Anne Collier

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Anne Collier
Exhibition April 11 – May 24 2008

First solo exhibition in a UK public gallery by New York based artist Anne Collier. Over the past decade Collier has created a body of work that investigates the role of photographs in contemporary culture.

Fascinated by popular imagery, she produces photographs of objects that ‘carry’ other photographs, from advertisements and film posters to art magazines, books and LP covers. The making of each piece involves a series of steps, from collection and physical manipulation to arrangement before the camera (as the object is re-photographed). Eye (Coarse-Color Screen) (2007), for example, presents a photography manual carefully opened and propped against a black background to show the close-up of a woman’s eye.

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The eye, the camera, the gaze and the returned gaze; these motifs run through the works in the exhibition. Folded Madonna Poster (Steven Meisel) (2007), pinned to the studio wall, depicts a young, blonde Madonna with her eyes cast down, pressing a cigarette between her lips. In Woman With a Camera (2006), Collier photographs a pair of promotional posters of the 1978 thriller Eyes of Laura Mars, starring Faye Dunaway. The images, black and white and colour respectively, show Dunaway in the act of taking a photograph, looking through and over a camera.

Anne Collier explores our closeness to images whilst framing hidden nuances of power and gender relations. Her work also addresses notions of biography and self-portraiture. She employs a seemingly distant or forensic approach to create works that hint at the stories of her own life, in what has been described as a kind of ‘deflected self-portraiture’. The tension between emotion and detachment, personal investments and clichéd, universal culture, suggest that identity is a somewhat unstable territory.

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