She Appeared to Vanish at HOME and Waterside galleries
She Appeared to Vanish is a group exhibition questioning historical photographic depictions of women.
by Sheena Campbell
A new exhibition is questioning historical depictions of women in photography. She Appeared to Vanish is on at Waterside Lauriston Gallery and HOME Granada Gallery.
The showcase of work by international artists uses strategies that disrupt, frustrate and challenge the camera’s unblinking gaze.
This is a gaze historically associated with an objectifying male perspective.
Reaching beyond purely photographic methods, the exhibition draws on wider traditions of painting, sculpture, surrealist collage and performance.
These strategies challenge the viewer to consider the act of viewing the female form and its historical and contemporary implications.
Making a virtue of difference, the exhibition cuts across cultural and continental boundaries and traditions.
And yet, for their diversity, an uncanny sense of mystery and tension permeates through all the work.
Each piece operates in the charged space between absence and presence; disguise and disclosure.
Photography is a technology developed around the act and desire to see.
Here the artists have identified it as the ideal tool with which to explore the rich, conflicted terrain of evolving gender dynamics.
Through her photographs, Céline Bodin investigates the notions of gender and identity within Western culture.
Her photographs interrogate the representation of women across time.
They explore womanhood as a construction built in response to historical, societal and cultural pressures.
The series Light of Grace re-enacts the suggestive gesture borrowed from Old Masters to 19th century paintings.
It explores female representation’s conflict with ideals and beauty archetypes.
The series investigates beauty’s intuitive quality, existing beyond the clarity and precise traits of a particular object.
Delphine Diallo is a French-Senegalese photographer living and working in New York, USA.
Diallo is best known for her exploration of radiant and interactive surfaces and her innovative technique of painting.
She explores evolving themes of femininity through the captured emotions of her subjects, in return telling their powerful stories.
In Awakening and Twilight Zone, Diallo worked with mask makers and body painters in a process that foregrounds the empowerment of her subjects.
Through reimagining of mythology and spiritual symbolism that makes reference to the artist’s cultural roots in Senegal, these works seek to awaken archetypes of the female spirit.
Sarah Eyre is a visual artist based in the north of England.
She uses photomontage and photomontage-based animated GIFs to explore the way we participate in the ongoing labour of maintaining and controlling our bodily surfaces.
In Shape Shifters, photographs culled from fashion and beauty magazines are cut, reshaped and reassembled before being re-photographed.
These interventions open up space for imaginative interpretation as the body is simultaneously revealed and concealed.
While the camera’s gaze can appear to fix appearances, in Eyre’s hands the body and its image remain slippery and unstable.
Eva Stenram’s photographic practice brings together analogue archival material and digital manipulation.
Sifting through past and present artefacts, she re-interprets and interacts with the imagery she encounters.
Her work is ultimately about being a viewer, a consumer of images.
In her series Drape, Stenram works with ‘found’ images of mid-century erotica.
She obscures the original focal area by digitally extending elements of the background.
With this one gesture she confounds and plays with the viewer’s expectation, denying our gaze while calling into action our imagination.
Pinar Yolacan creates bewitching photographic portraits of the female figure.
Her images dissolve traditional boundaries between photography, sculpture and painting.
They grapple with issues of beauty, femininity, fashion, cultural heritage and art history.
For her series Corpo Mecanico, Yolacan painted and photographed her subjects while working with samba and funk communities in Sao Paolo.
They appear isolated and framed, not as fashionable posed objects for surface delectation, but as invitations to study nothing less than what it means to be human and, more powerfully, female.
Curated by Mario Popham
Mario Popham is a photographer, educator and curator currently based in Manchester, UK.
In his role as curator at Waterside, Trafford, he is working towards establishing a dedicated photography program for the Greater Manchester area.
The program has an emphasis on collaboration with regional partners in the visual arts and beyond.
She Appeared to Vanish
She Appeared to Vanish is on at Waterside Lauriston Gallery, Sale, and HOME Granada Gallery, Manchester.
Separate works by the artists are installed at each venue creating distorted mirror images.
On Tuesday, October 26, featured artist Pinar Yolaçan and Kathak dance guru Abha Auti will host a free online event.
They will discuss their collaboration for the video piece Kathak which is currently on view.
The event starts at 6pm. Click here for more information.
She Appeared to Vanish is on until November 6 at Waterside.
The exhibition closes on November 7 at HOME.