Rosie Harvey-Otway

Rosie Harvey-Otway

I work mostly in photographic self portraiture, video and performance, and within and through these media, I am interested in the reconstitution of the feminine subject. My work also deals with dialogues of understanding between the body and space, and manifests itself primarily in photographic documentation of performance-based exploration of spaces.

It is through these strange images of the body, which do not fit into the prescribed norms of gazing upon a woman, that I am orchestrating this rethinking of understandings of femininity. The active body engages with architecture and space in a subversive manner, culminating in strange and surreal images, which are greatly ambiguous in their nature. The surrealism here is indicative of my interest in the bizarreness of human existence, which we can understand as fluid and impossible to truly encapsulate or pin down. It is in this sense that I wish to represent the female body (in this case my own body), as a fluid, ambiguous thing, and humourous thing, detached from prescribed norms or understandings of the feminine.

Furthermore, my interest in self portraiture and the act of representing oneself is tied to the creation of a certain agency over the gaze, in terms of the act of acknowledging the act of being looked at or gazed upon. For me this also relates very closely to the feminism in my work, and is in reference to both feminist art history in terms of the use of self portraiture and humour, and to contemporary feminism, in the reclaiming of the gaze, and reconstitution of the female subject. My interest in these ideas has been greatly informed by my passion for much recent feminist theory, as well as my longstanding engagement and interest with feminist lines of thought.

During this residency I will work on a project that utilizes the landscape of the island, and would likely manifest itself in photographic and video based works. As previously mentioned, I am interested in the subversive exploration of space as a vehicle for my feminist concerns, and I will use my time in to make work specifically using the environment, through gaining an understanding of the place, and responding sensitively and poetically to it. Overall, I wish to deepen my understanding of gender studies and feminism through working alongside and with others.


Rosie Harvey-Otway is an art student in the final year at Edinburgh College of Art. Her practice is concerned with using the abstract space between humour and sincerity within art in order to explore how the body relates to space through feminist agencies and methods. Harvey-Otway’s artworks relate to the female body as a political space, relating to framing of images of women within art history and contemporary culture, as well as body hair and the anarchic exploration of space according to pleasure – all which are dealt with primarily through photography, performance video, costume and drawing.