Beth Collar (Live Art, 2017)Hand of glory

Beth Collar

Shortlisted in 2017 for Live Art

Beth Collar’s practice is preoccupied with authoritative structures and how they manifest in society, using improvisational techniques to expose her subconscious and to “find truths”. One such structure Beth explores is spoken word, often involving experimentation with bathos and the epic form to examine the influence of media and patriarchal structures, among other things, on her identity.

Performances such as Brackish Seas of the Triassic (2013), and Like Valhalla (2013) see Beth “treating objects as agents”, using spoken word to provoke them into action. Conversely, in Hand of Glory (RCA, Jerwood Space, Cubiit; 2012-15) she turns herself into an object, exploring “all of the potential references within a saturated gesture” by recording a live feed of her hand, held in front of the camera for as long as is physically possible.

Since her residency at the Glasgow Women’s Library in 2014, Beth’s performances have become places to process her research into feminist texts. Her current residency is at the University of Bristol where she has contributed to their project The Figure of the Witch involving the creation of wooden sculptures that through an ancient medium explore the gender politics of the ‘frown of the furrowed brow’ in contemporary imagery.