Collier Schorr
In the Collage II (Marie)

In the Collage II (Marie) (2013), Shorr seems to have an ostensibly clear subject, a female subject identified in the work’s title as “Marie,” a slim but athletic woman with brown hair pictured reclining atop a brilliantly white sheet draped against a marbled tan-and-white backdrop. Although photographed topless, Marie is depicted in slightly contorted poses that emphasize the curves of her figure while also obstructing the viewer’s gaze. Printed on high gloss paper, Marie’s portrait has the polished veneer of magazine spread, and the two portraits on display offer different vantages of the same subject. But Schorr subverts expectations: instead of framing the images flat, Schorr loosely rolls the two prints, displaying them in a clear vitrine mounted on top of a white rectangular pedestal. The display raises questions about modes of spectatorship that objectify female bodies. At the same time, Schorr activates a physicality through these portraits that belies the conventional flatness of photography. By encouraging her audience to examine her vitrine from all sides, Schorr engagers her viewer in a more complex and multi-faced mode of viewership and, by extension, allows her portraits to be seen with a kind of dimensionality closer to real life.

Collier Schorr photographs communities of people, from high school wresters in her native New York to teenagers in the German countryside clad in American military uniforms. Her work displays an almost anthropological curiosity, and in documenting her subjects, she tries to find the idiosyncratic details through which people organize into “tribal” relationships with one another. Her images, by extension, blend photographic realism with elements of fiction and fantasy as a means of representing the various ways these tribes identify themselves. Schoor’s work also investigates gender and the ways in which subjects use visual cues and embodied signs to both inhabit and subvert assumed gender expectations.