Collier Schorr, 8 Women @303

JTF (just the facts): A total of 14 photographs, variously framed, matted, and displayed, and hung against white walls in the single room gallery space. 9 of the works are pigment prints, made between 1996 and 2014; these prints range in size from roughly 14×14 to 70×47 and are generally available in editions of 3+2AP. 3 of the works are gelatin silver prints, made between 1998 and 2014; these prints range in size from roughly 14×14 to 60×46 and are also available in editions of 3+2AP. The other two works are 1 set of pigment print strips on a pedestal (unique) and 1 ultrachrome ink on canvas (unique), both made in 2013. A monograph of this body of work is forthcoming from MACK (here). (Installation shots below.)

Comments/Context: Drawing from appropriated images, outtakes from fashion shoots, and other studio images from the past decade of her work, Collier Schorr has done something quietly remarkable. She has captured an elusive kind of femininity, one that is perfectly comfortable displaying itself naked, but is at the same time, undeniably in charge of the situation. From posed performative portraits to anonymous nudes, she has bottled a singular attitude, one that is confident even when it is vulnerable, full of strength at moments when we might expect weakness. It’s a refreshingly direct and powerful repudiation of the male gaze, delivered without exaggerated affect.

Each image in this eclectic series finds the same emotional resonance, even when the gestures and stagings are entirely different. Severe and matter of fact gives way to physically strong and unabashedly at ease, while stark and appraising on the edge of a tub matches a swaggering, dominant, arm-raised pose against a bookshelf. Even when these women look away, turn their heads down, or curl up, they do it with a sense of knowing action, where yielding is achieved without submission or meekness. Sometimes it is just a rephotographed look that tells the whole story.

While not every image in this show is entirely memorable on its own, the sum total of what Schorr has produced is engagingly smart, especially when seen in dialogue together; she has changed the frame of reference, and done so in a manner that feels entirely natural. Whether we attribute this to the declarative female gaze or some brand of post-feminism is less important; what matters here is that Schorr has elegantly changed the visual conversation, effectively opening up new white space in both female portraiture and in photography of the nude form.

Collector’s POV: The works in this show are priced between $9000 and $30000, generally based on size. Schorr’s photographic work has only recently begun to enter the secondary markets, with prices at auction ranging between $4000 and $10000.

Read more about: Collier Schorr, 303 Gallery, MACK

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