Visual pleasure: photography, illusion and the desire to be deceived

Woolley, Dawn (2010) Visual pleasure: photography, illusion and the desire to be deceived. Ffotogallery. ISBN 9781872771830

Abstract

All of the artwork I have created over the last ten years has contained two unifying features; the use of photographic cut-out's and the use of my body. Both elements invoke philosophical questions about perception and interpretation. The body of work printed in this book forms an enquiry into the act of looking, and the experiences we have as individuals when we are looked at. This essay explores the artificiality of the way we see and the things we are shown. Consideration is given to the importance of the body, not only as an object of sight and a cultural signifier, but also as the vessel through which we negotiate the world and gather our perceptions of it. Visual Pleasure [exhibition catalogue] brings together artwork and research completed over the past 4 years by artist Dawn Woolley including documentation from a series of performance installations, Cut to the Measure of Desire, which were specially commissioned in 2009 by Stiwdio Safle and funded by the Arts Council of Wales. Woolley’s artwork examines her experience of being an object of sight and also considers the experience the viewer has when looking at her as a female, and as a photographic object. Voyeurism and exhibitionism intertwine in purposefully provocative scenes. Visual Pleasure includes a critical essay by Woolley that takes modes of looking and spectatorship as its subject. The text considers the psychology of perception and illusion in art referring to seminal texts by Laura Mulvey, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Micheal Foucault and Jacques Lacan. Also included is an introductory text by the writer and psychoanalyst Darian Leader. The publication was made possible through a production grant by the Arts Council of Wales and is published through Ffotogallery

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