installation view

Installation detail

Caption: Installation detail

dawn dyptich

install detail

Caption: Installation detail

dawn woolley

dawn woolley

Consumed: Stilled Lives

26 Setember -  2 November 2018

Artists in this exhibition: Dawn Woolley

Titled “Consumed: Stilled Lives”, the exhibition plays with the traditional concept of still life painting, which grew in popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Often featuring silver plates, ornate glassware and expensive foodstuffs such as shellfish and exotic fruit, still life paintings became a fashionable way for the Dutch and Flemish to illustrate their wealth. 

Dr Woolley, a research fellow at Leeds Arts University, said: “The term ‘consume’ describes the act of eating as well as purchasing a commodity. The still life table expresses this dual meaning because the objects on display are edible and indicate an individual’s social position.

“I therefore approach the still life table as a portrait of a particular type of consumer. This allows me to view food in a still life as an expression of a relation between an individual and consumer society, and a symbol of the effect commodity consumption has on the consumer’s body.”

The exhibition comprises of six series of mounted and framed still life photographs and online projects on Instagram and Twitter.  And some photographs, such as the Memorials series, are not for the faint-hearted.  Dr Woolley added: “Memorials are neither still life nor portrait but represent the subject becoming nature morte.  Rotting flesh is arranged among the paraphernalia of celebration, signalling the end of the consumer party.”

Dawn Woolley Biography

Dawn Woolley completed an MA in Photography (2008) and PhD by project in Fine Art (2017) at the Royal College of Art. Recent exhibitions have included; “Self/Selfie” Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia (2017), “Le Féminin” Circulation(s), Arles (2017), “From Selfie to Self-Expression” Saatchi Gallery, London (2017) and “Basically. Forever” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2014). 

Solo exhibitions include; “Consumed: Stilled Lives” Ffotogallery, Cardiff (2018), Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge (2017), Dyson Gallery, London (2016); “Visual Pleasure”, Hippolyte Photography Gallery, Helsinki, Finland (2013); Vilniaus Fotografijos Galerija, Lithuania (2012); Ffotogallery in Cardiff (2011) and “The Substitute”, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University (2010).

Recent academic publications include ‘Aberrant consumers: Selfies and fat admiration websites’ Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society, 6(2). Her forthcoming book Consuming the Body: Capitalism, Social Media and Commodification is due to be published in 2019 by I B Tauris. Woolley is a research fellow at Leeds Arts University.