Exhibition: When the Muse looks back - picturing the poetess

16 Jan ‘15

9.00AM - 5.00PM

Venue: Gallery 3, Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling

This exhibition emerged from a research project Picturing the Poetess, undertaken by Dr Sarah Parker, which focuses on representations of the woman poet from 1880-1930.

The invention of photography in the nineteenth-century brought about major changes in women poets’ constructions of poetic identity. Photography had the potential to transform the woman poet’s image in the public imagination: she could even become a celebrity. However, becoming visible also meant negotiating the gaze and avoiding objectification which threatened to undermine her work.

At the same time, women were becoming as active behind the camera as in front of it. Photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron pictured female subjects in mythological guise whilst emphasising their unique subjectivity and power.

Sarah asked three contemporary photographers, Catriona Munro, Johanna Samuelson and Anna Buchanan, to respond to these issues of gender, creativity, celebrity and the gaze. Their images reinterpret photographs of women poets, the photographic aesthetics of women photographers, and the words of particular poems, bringing an awareness of queer and feminist theory to these images. In this sense, these new photographs reveal what happens when the muse looks back.

Dr Sarah Parker’s project is funded by a University of Stirling Impact Research Fellowship.

Currently, the Art Collection is open from 9am - 5pm on weekdays.

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