An artist who lives and works in New York, Anna Gaskell is part of a generation of artists working today who have continued the tradition of feminist conceptual photography begun in the 1980s by such artists as Laurie Simmons, Cindy Sherman, and Sherrie Levine. In her Wonder series, the worlds of fantasy and reality collide around the figure of Alice, the well-known heroine of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Gaskell’s fascination with Alice centers around the whimsically violent visions in Carroll’s stories, with their fantastic confabulations and at times sadistic motifs. For the artist, Wonderland is a place where anything can happen and the boundaries of real space and time do not apply. She is interested in retelling the tale of Alice in an attempt to reclaim Wonderland outside of the vision of Lewis Carroll.
In the making of these photographs, the artist took on the role of director to obliquely retell her own versions of various passages from the Alice stories. To portray the identity crises that Alice undergoes in Carroll’s stories–growing, shrinking, and generally transforming–the artist hired a pair of identical twins to play the role of Alice. The ambiguous images of the twins, shown from unexpected angles, are physically mirrored in the prints, which shift in scale from extremely small to very large.
These photographs were shown in the 1997 Walker exhibition Stills: Emerging Photography in the 1990s. The acquisition of these two works is part of a continuing Walker effort to create a body of photographic work by young conceptual artists.