My artwork disrupts the constant stream of images of women we are surrounded by in advertising imagery, that reiterate the connection between perfect female bodies and commodification. I contrast these with compositions I create to reframe the female body: imperfect, glamorous, located in contexts of radical thought, disruptive intentions, where excess is not about consumption, but pleasure. I reimagine the frivolity of entertainment and ask if it can be ruptured away the service of neoliberal individuality, and that political agency need not be dry, earnest, contained.
I make photographs, videos, collages, performances and paintings. My collages incorporate photographs I have taken of1930s showgirl pin-ups in which I embody the showgirl myself. I draw on avant-garde art history. I play with the political implications of colours: red we associate with socialism. Garish pink I associate with gendered toys, popular feminist book covers, glaring adverts. Theatre interior photographs describe the possibilities and constraints of the contexts of entertainment by locating the stairs that lead onto the stage. My friend Felicity former Bluebell Young Lady chorus girl tells me of her dancing career in the thirties in Europe on the cusp of war.
Alison J Carr is an artist and writer. She studied at the California Institute of the Arts, absorbing both the critical dialogue and the lure of the Hollywood facade. She worked with Leslie Dick, Natalie Bookchin, Ellen Birrell and Jo Ann Callis, developing her critical voice as well as her singing voice (taking singing lessons so that she could sing ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ by Laura Mulvey). Following her soujorn to LA, she returned to Sheffield to do a PhD at Sheffield Hallam University where she had gained her undergraduate degree. Her book, Viewing Pleasure and Being A Showgirl: How Do I Look? published by Routledge in 2018.
Alison has been a Terra Summer Residency fellow in Giverny, France and LoBe Gallery resident in Berlin. She was awarded an Arts Council England ‘Grants for the Arts’ award in 2017. In 2018 she became a Freelands Art Programme recipient through Site Gallery Sheffield, and a-n mentoring scheme recipient working with the curator, Lucy Day.
Alison has shown her work in internationally in LA, Indiana, and Berlin, and nationally in London, Sheffield, Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester and Blackpool. Highlights include: curating her first exhibition at the University of Huddersfield’s Market Gallery and her first solo show at Abingdon Studios, Blackpool. Recent commissions include a new performance for S1 Artspace / Making Ways for the Construction House season of events, staged at DINA, Sheffield.