22 pigment prints on bamboo paper
65" x 117"
I found a cast off doll washed up on the beach. Waves of emotion arrived, transcending what was actually in front of me....a plastic doll whose wet, limbless body lay in a tangle of sand and seaweed. Sun bleached plastic began to soften into flesh, bright blue eyes darted here and there as though noticing the world for the first time.
Dolls have been created by humans for thousands of years as evidenced by dolls found in tombs throughout the ancient world. Few toys carry the same level of psychological burden and intrigue. Something about this kind of inanimate likeness of ourselves continues to fascinate. Dolls represent comfort and pleasure as well as playthings or collectibles to admire. Children spend hours imagining the life their doll can have as they engage them in all manner of human activities alone or with friends. Depending on materials, a doll might reveal the owner’s social status. Dolls are cut from paper, created from carved wood, dried apples and corn husks, made from cloth wrapped wire as well as stuffed cloth with added yarn for hair, buttons for eyes. Elegant dolls have been created from bisque and the finest silks. Artists such as Surrealist Hans Bellmer have used them to make political statements. Some cultures forbid likenesses of humans but allow oddly emotional faceless dolls for children to play with. There are dolls of every ethnicity, anatomically correct dolls, and, more recently, dolls made to look as lifelike as possible by doll makers known as Reborn Doll Artists. Some have dolls made in the likeness of a deceased child, or to represent their wish to have a child. It is now possible to play with virtual dolls.
The discovery of this lost doll moved me to wander into the strange land of things appearing lifelike depending on where you allow your imagination to take you. I wanted to explore this very real and quite emotional phenomenon.