FROM KOLAJ 34
Heather Olker’s Use of Collage to Critique Fashion Advertising
“Seeing Red” by Heather Olker is a series of collages that employs a feminist discourse to confront the misogynistic imagery and narratives generated by high-end fashion photography. The work focuses on the disturbing and ongoing trend of illustrating sexualized violence against women in fashion advertising, using collage as a methodology to disassemble and reconstruct widely circulated images from popular magazines and social media accounts for fashion labels. Natasha Chuk reviews Olker’s work in Kolaj 34. She writes, “The work asks us to confront our overall apathetic and unconcerned acceptance of advertising messages and question the visual and narrative they impart to imagine other possibilities that restore the integrity and agency of objectified women.”
Artists working with collage are in the business of taking risks and stirring trouble, as it’s a form conducive to critique.
Heather Olker holds an MFA from the Photography, Video and Related Media program at the School of Visual Arts, where she was awarded the Alice Beck-Odette scholarship and a full-time assistantship grant; a BA in Psychology and Advertising from DePaul University; and has a professional background in applied psychology. Her work has been shown in group shows at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago; Frank Juarez Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and at DePaul University and the School of Visual Arts. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Learn more at www.heatherolker.com.
Natasha Chuk holds a PhD in Media and Communication Philosophy from the European Graduate School; an MA in Media Studies from The New School; and a BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Her first book, Vanishing Points: Articulations of Death, Fragmentation, and the Unexperienced Experience of Created Objects (Intellect Ltd., 2015), is an examination of the creation and uses of presence and absence as emulations of existence across a variety of media, including film, photography, video games, and interactive art. Her writing and curatorial work are centered on questions about the self, objecthood, and perceptions of time and space. Her essays have appeared in Dissect Journal, First Person Scholar, Interartive, Metaverse Creativity Journal, and others. The author lives and works in New York City. Learn more at www.natashachuk.com.