May 12, 2012
March 21, 2012, New York—In her third solo show at Anton Kern Gallery, New York-based artist Anne Collier presents a body of recent photographs that amplifies her continuing investigation into questions of perception and representation, the nature and culture of photographic images, and the mechanics of the gaze. Negotiating autobiography, nostalgia, and various manifestations of pop-melancholia, Collierʼs work considers the tensions between her employment of an almost forensic photographic objectivity and the often highly subjective and emotive content she typically focuses on.
Collierʼs photographs invariably depict existing objects that incorporate photographic imagery: e.g. images of open books, calendars, postcards, or album and magazine covers. Often focusing on sexualized images of women, posing with or without cameras, close-ups of the human body, and recurring images of the eye, Collier does not necessarily consider her resulting images as a form of appropriation, rather she thinks of them as a form of still-life photography, making reference to both technical and commercial (advertising) photography. Collier shoots these found and second-hand objects in the context of the studio, with its cracked grey floor and white painted walls clearly visible. There is little or no artifice at work in these images. The lighting is invariably clear and neutral, the exception being a subtly yet dramatically staged group of European still-life postcards from the late 1960s and early 1970s that each incorporate photographic equipment in their gender-specific tableaux. In all Collierʼs works, at first view, emotions appear to be withheld, where the photographs seemingly echo earlier approaches to photo-conceptualism in both style and emotional detachment, presenting the object of investigation as if ready for analysis and deconstruction. However, something quite different comes to light in these richly toned and large color prints.
Exploring the seductive – and often clichéd - nature of photographic imagery, Collierʼs photographs come across as images of rare and evocative finds. They open themselves to the viewer emotionally. Working with discarded objects, which typically include evidence of their previous lives, Collier refocuses our attention towards possible new readings. Working around the casual, yet blatant sexism at play in the photographic milieu of the 1970s and 1980s Collier recharges these often-contentious images through their representation and recontextualization. In turn Collierʼs work provokes obscured, improbable and sometimes unintended meanings. Through the activity of researching, collecting, re-staging and re-photographing, Collier reformulates original intent, re-distributes meaning and ultimately imbues her subjects with a form of aesthetic and emotional character that is uniquely her own.