Vanessa Howells’ photographic practice is based in performance, self-portraiture and assemblage. Howells’ work refers to neo-classical ideals of the nude and female sexuality, considering its relevance for contemporary selfhood. By placing Howells’ own body in the images, the work rewrites the absence of female agency and enunciates the erasure of female power in historical representation.
Howells fragments pages of art history books, dispersing and metamorphosing images of self into ‘the canon’. By transposing paintings digitally onto photographic self-portraits and objects the history of the figure is transmuted and misremembered, and images of self are used to disrupt the linear, historical and binary.