Beth Collar’s practice is preoccupied with authoritative structures and how they manifest in society. She makes sculpture and performance, using improvisational techniques to expose her subconscious and to “find truths” examining the influence of media and patriarchal structures, among other things, on her identity.
Preoccupied with the power contained within the sculptural object, performances such as Brackish Seas of the Triassic (2013), and Like Valhalla (2013) see Collar “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.
Between 2015 and 2017 Collar was artist in residence at the University of Bristol where in response to their research project on the The Figure of the Witch she made wooden sculptures exploring the gender politics of the ‘furrowed brow’ in contemporary imagery. Winning the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2016/17 and drawing elements from this work, Collar recently made Seriously, a show of objects that took the forehead on a journey into an archaeological or biological sequence – tracing the evolution and material culture of an alternative, parallel humanoid which appeared to emerge from an imaginary primordial swamp.