ceramic What a Doll: The Human Object as Toy, 2010 (at the Bemis Center, Omaha, NE) by Christina West

What a Doll: The Human Object as Toy, 2010 (at the Bemis Center, Omaha, NE)

stuffed fabric and glazed ceramic. Each figure is 49" long

The figures in What a Doll: The Human Object as Toy, although they are of a nearly life-size scale, reference dolls with their materiality: their ceramic limbs and stuffed cloth torsos nod to historical bisque dolls common to the early 1900’s. A doll, of any kind, is an iconic plaything, conjuring associations with childhood, role-playing, imagination, and representing, to some degree, our relationships with others. My dolls—hard while soft, beautiful while unsettling, and passive in posture while seemingly willful in gesture—engage an unfixed and complex place in the imagination. Just as traditional dolls are objects that initiate projection, this work invites viewers to apply their own personal narratives to the emotionally charged tableau, while pointing to associations of sexuality, vulnerability of the body, and play.