Anne Collier combines still-life photography with techniques of appropriation in meticulously arranged compositions. Photographed against flat, plain surfaces in her studio, found objects—record covers, magazine pages, appointment calendars, and postcards—reveal Collier’s interest in the mass media and popular culture of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Informed as much by West Coast Conceptual art as by commercial product photography and advertising, her deadpan pictures (which are often humorous and subtly self-reflexive) present a set of formal and psychological associations that frame recurrent tensions around power and gender.
The works in this display investigate the culture of photography, the conventions of nude photography, and the act of seeing. Woman with Cameras #1 features a spread from a 1970s photography trade publication, a genre in which female subjects were often used by advertisers to sell photography products to male consumers. Veterans Day pictures The Museum of Modern Art’s 1972 appointment calendar, featuring Edward Weston’s famous 1925 photograph of the torso of his young son Neil. Cut—which includes a picture of the artist’s own eye sliced by a paper cutter—is a reference to Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel’s infamous 1929 short film Un Chien Andalou, in which a woman’s eye is cut by a razor.
Collier’s still lifes highlight the materiality of photographic reproduction and the deployment of images within print culture, now increasingly rendered obsolete by digital technologies. Deeply invested in the history of photography as a medium of art and intellectual inquiry, Collier’s work questions and recontextualizes clichéd popular imagery, alternately evoking her own personal history and a more general nostalgic attraction to found material.
Anne Collier was born in 1970 in Los Angeles. She received a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1993 and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2001. She lives and works in New York City.