Anne Collier - UntitledAnne Collier

Open Eye Gallery, Wood Street
11th April - 24th May 2008

Reviewed by Alison Cornmell

To get to the Open Eye gallery I have to walk through the bustle of Liverpool city centre, weaving my way through the throngs of people armed with bulging Primark bags, fighting the urge to elbow people out of my way. But then I get to Wood Street, where shoppers seldom visit and I enter the cool space of the Open Eye Gallery. Exhibitions that I have seen in the past have been of quirky, unusual and intricate photographs that have kept me in the gallery for a long, long time. The calming, quiet makes me feel like I'm miles away from the buzz of shoppers.

On Saturday I made the same trip into town to se the Anne Collier exhibition, her first solo exhibition in a pubic gallery in the UK. However I was disappointed that I only needed ten minutes to look at the whole exhibition.

The focus of the exhibition is representations of ‘the eye, the camera, the gaze and the returned gaze’, this is explored through photographs of photographs. The photographs were very large and striking, with a pop art twist, and would probably make quite cool posters for my bedroom but that’s the extent of the emotional response I had with any of the images. In a way I felt quite cheated, I had to leave earlier than I was used to purely because I’d seen everything that there was to be seen.

However in interview Collier has said that her pieces work for this relationship, as she is interested in exploring ideas of ‘alienation and loss’. This exploration creates a feeling of distance felt with her photography. So it would seem that I was supposed to have this reaction, but despite this I still feel that as an audience I deserve more than this.

Perhaps I am missing the point completely, perhaps this is meant to subvert accepted notions of the relationship between art and viewer. But whichever way it is dressed I still felt distanced and unattached to the photography, and that for me isn’t good enough.

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