Approved: 16.08.2006

Alison J Carr

Artist, Consultant, Researcher, Writer

Approved: 16.08.2006

My work is about power and powerlessness.

Read more ...




    Artist Statement

    My work is about power and powerlessness.


    I weave together audio, texts, archival and found materials with photographs and performances to interrogate the slippery multi-faceted performance of femininity. I want to bring to light, the contradictions in physical bodily display and the divergent techniques of hiding in plain sight—being the dazzling spectacle in the spotlight. Hyper-visible and invisible, loud and voiceless. 


    Such spotlight moments in my work draw attention to the crafting of identity through entertainment. Revealing the layers of identity informed by social interaction and contexts. I uncover hidden mechanisms and staged moments, through a process of bringing in expert voices, building unlikely relationships with retired chorus girls, current showgirls and contrary performers, who play along with me, committing to a period of embarrassed rehearsals and the ritual humiliation of public performance.


    I am interested in the labour of the performance, the vulnerability of the body, my own lack of talent but also the generation of charisma. I often step into these awkward moments, implicating myself and the viewer; dancing non-stop to the threshold of painful exhaustion; singing sincerely but imperfectly in a crowded room. I aim to capture a certain irreverence, absurdity tinged with melancholy, foolishness, pleasure—all these layers of live performance, all at the same time. 


    The long exposures of my photographs of theatre interiors reflect aspiration, opulence and dust. The façade and the real. The reality of construction. These resonant and atmospheric spaces are haunted with the trials of optimism and human endeavour, of putting on a show. 


    I am committed to problematising easy dismissals of femininity and sexual display in favour of indulging deeper enquiry and rigorously researched complexity. 


    I explore theatres as sites of self-actualisation and Hollywood as a site of avant-garde art. Breaching boundaries between showing-off and reflecting, between exhibitionism and our own interior worlds, I position the night as a world to be inhabited, reclaimed, and enjoyed.


    CV & Education

    Alison J Carr

    Born 1978 Sheffield, lives in Sheffield




    2013 PhD Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam University

    2009 MFA Photography & Media, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

    2001 BA (Hons) Fine Art: Combined & Media Art, Sheffield Hallam University 


    Solo Exhibitions, Performances & Screenings


    2023 They Danced As One, live scored screening with Rob Bentall, Cultures of Sound, Huddersfield, UK

    2022 Night World, Exchange Place, Yorkshire ArtSpace Society, Sheffield, UK  

    2021 Bubikopf, performance, The Cellar Theatre, Sheffield; NewBridge Project, Newcastle, UK

    2020 Ascending A Staircase, Darlington Hippodrome Theatre, Darlington, UK

    2019 Into the Spotlight, Platform / Site Gallery, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK

    The Gaps in the Cannon, McCullough Center, Middlebury College, USA

    2018 Felicity Means Happiness, Abingdon Studios, Blackpool, UK


    Selected Group Exhibitions, Performances & Screenings


    2023 Babble, Ilkon, Ilkeston, UK

    Contrafibularities, Fronteer Gallery, Sheffield UK

    2022 Think of Me With Kindness, Gage Gallery, Sheffield, UK

    2021-22 Single Figures, Prosaic Mosaic, Sheffield, UK

    2021 Undertow, Group Show, Freelands Foundation, London, UK

    2019 Prosaic Mosaic: A Survey of New Paintings, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK

    Inter-Section, Temporary Contemporary, Huddersfield, UK

    Showgirls: Screening and Book Launch, Glasgow Women’s Library, Glasgow, UK

    2018 Construction House, performance, S1 Artspace, DINA, Sheffield, UK

    Showgirl Manifesto, Temporary Contemporary, Huddersfield, UK 

    On Show, Curator’s Show by Joanna Craddock and Dawn Woolley, Leeds Arts University, Leeds, UK

    2017 Lay of the Land Performance, HOME, Manchester, UK

    2014 WROUGHT One-to-One Performance Festival, The Hive, Sheffield, UK 

    Three Act Structure, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK 

    London Life, L A Noble, London, UK

    Library Interventions / Sharon Kivland, Leeds College of Art, Leeds, UK 

    You Me You Me You Me, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK

    Hollywood Forever, SIA Gallery, Sheffield, UK

    2013 Past/Present, Kinsey Institute Gallery, Indiana, USA

    2012 Showtime, with artist Kerstin Honeit, SIA Gallery, Sheffield, UK

    2011 Showtime, with artist Kerstin Honeit, LoBe Gallery, Berlin, Germany

    2009 Greater LA MFA (GLAMFA), California State University Long Beach, USA

    MFA Conversations Part II, I-5 Gallery, Brewery Arts Complex, LA, USA

    Why Theory: MFA Graduation Exhibition, Spring Arts Tower, LA, USA

    Why Video: MFA Video Screening, REDCAT, LA, USA

    Woman As Image, thesis exhibition, D301, CalArts, California, USA 

    2007 Déjà Vu, three-person show, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK 

    2006 Just for Fun, performance, Webster Gotts & Robin Close, Sheffield, UK 


    Curatorial Projects


    2018 Showgirl Manifesto, Temporary Contemporary, Huddersfield, UK

    2014   You Me You Me You Me, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK

    Hollywood Forever, SIA Gallery, Sheffield, UK




    2011 LoBe London Berlin Art Kunst, Berlin, Germany

    2010 Terra Summer Residency, Giverny, France




    2020- Numerous private collections

    2009 Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender & Reproduction, Indiana, USA




    2022 1:1 Fund, Jerwood Arts

    2018-20 Platform / Freelands Artist Programme, Site Gallery, Sheffield

    2008 American Association of University Women, International Fellowship 




    2021-22 Developing Your Creative Practice, ACE

    2018-19 A-N Mentoring

    2017-8 Grants for the Arts, ACE


    Selected Press


    2019 ‘Platform Shoes: Emerging Artists In Sheffield’, Allan Gardner, The Quietus, 

    ‘Platform 2019 review’, Hannah Clugston, Guardian