A feminist Dialogue with the Camera, a one day exhibition of works by Catherine Long, was held in the Cookhouse gallery at Chelsea College of Arts on the 1st April 2015. Featuring video and installation works from Long’s practice-based PhD research, the exhibition was concerned with the conditions of female representation on screen in a contemporary Western context. As part of the exhibition Long, with artist and activist Rose Gibbs, held a discussion on feminist art practices for an invited audience.
Long’s research focuses on video art practice and its potential as a radical tool for deconstructing dominant mainstream images of femininity, as well as reconstructing and developing progressive representations of female subjectivities. Through re-examining critical feminist video artworks of the 1970s and 1980s, Long has been investigating the ways in which women artists have historically challenged the dominant economy of representation. The camera apparatus allowed women to control the production of their own image, articulate their subjective experiences and directly address the spectator. Underpinned by the radical principle that ‘the personal is political’, feminist art practice utilised consciousness-raising as both a formal strategy and a means of generating content in order to speak to other women and inspire political activism.
Amidst a resurgence of feminism, Long’s video practice explores how artistic strategies used in the second wave feminist era can still provoke and undermine the status quo of gender representations, proposing new possibilities of female identities. Drawing upon strategies of performance to camera, direct address and narrative, her practice explores the dialectics of representation and criticality in relation to themes of internalisation, anxiety and body image.
Top image: Meat Abstracted, Catherine Long, single channel video, 2014-15