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Found objects (doll heads)

2010-2011

This work consists of as many doll heads I was able to collect over a year and a half, installed here as a collection of loved trophies. I’m most interested in heads that represent infants (without hair) that have blinking eyes and eyelashes, and that have been clearly “loved” in their lifetime. There has been no attempt to clean or alter the doll heads, they are left as they have been found.

There is an acknowledged creepiness of the doll heads as remnants of a didactic learning system; dolls are instructional guides for children (particularly girls) on nurturing and care taking. They are passive recipients of affection, security, friendship, and the bearers of secrets. Some of us have witnessed these relationships firsthand or through other children – and the bonds can be strong, and normally with one doll onto which a myriad of expectations are projected. While the dolls are intended as surrogate infants, their physical qualities are oddly inhuman.

The dynamic of those projected expectations is reversed here, with hundreds of dolls (and perhaps our system of teaching and nurturing) staring back at us. There is an uncomfortable magnitude of this number of small faces returning our gaze, which might highlight the types of idolatry we project, as adults, onto infants – and flipped here, bearing a different type of power relationship. There is also a subtle reference to our continuing problematic population growth (procreation being the biggest carbon footprint of all) and the artificiality of this strange palette of plastic “flesh” tones.

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Detail

Found objects (doll heads)

2010-2011

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Discarded wedding dresses, disassembled and reassembled

2011

Not unlike wedding rings, wedding dresses are highly loaded symbols of status, purity, and promise. Much emphasis is put on this garment, perhaps more than any other in the course of a woman’s life – to the point where some brides have them professionally cleaned and boxed after the ceremony, to keep sealed throughout their life as a revered relic and memory. We may have forgotten how traditional wedding dresses are tied to dowries and the passing of women as property, but current shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” remind us of the social and personal importance of the “perfect” dress being elevated to an even higher status of acceptance and reverence of the bride.

This installation consists of discarded wedding dresses, those found at thrift stores, antique stores, estate sales and one even provided by a friend. In a purely material context, they are nothing more than fabric with embellishments. However, they carry the associations mentioned above – simultaneously undermined by the fact that they have been cast aside and discarded by their original wearer. I’m interested in this dichotomy of value, and how the presence of these clearly worn garments encourages us to ponder who their owner was, and why their dress ended up in a thrift store or antique shop. There is a story attached to each of these dresses, but they have been disassembled and reassembled to highlight the overwhelming nature of their symbolism and transition back to the basic fabric states of their origin.

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Discarded wedding dresses, disassembled and reassembled

2011

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Discarded wedding dresses, disassembled and reassembled

2011