Exquisite corpses

By IAN PAIGE  |  July 18, 2007

Explain more of these intense feelings that bubbled up.
MM I felt extremely precious about each doll after I had worked on it, spent time with it. The project was supposed to be more like a sandcastle. Even my own work is more like that, but I wonder if the attachment was because these were figures ... I am a mother, a grandmother, maybe it was these maternal, protective instincts coming in about these objects.

AR The doll, something I didn’t understand when we started, addresses issues of empowerment, identity and the mind body connection. There’s an idea that the doll personifies us. It can be an impediment or can direct your work.

There were several decapitations. A head replaced a head and maybe that head was removed. We’re in a culture that reveres the head. The head is important whereas the body is something to be distressed about, something to be controlled.

There were some complete renovations or shifts. Gender bending. Transformations from human to hybrid or animal. Sometimes that was acceptable and sometimes that was disturbing to people. I found it really interesting when people got disturbed.

The process-oriented and communal aspects of the project seem to deviate from the more hierarchical structures of the art world.
AR
The gallery, the museum, the institution creates these levels of preference that are hard for people to understand. You have to have knowledge, know the art history, it’s coded, it’s got ethics. It doesn’t seem to merge with that pure, raw instinct to create and create with others, to have dialogue.

Communities can create the art scene. We don’t have to wait to be heard or to talk to each other. How do we value the work? Some of this is not well crafted, but what does that mean in terms of value? We all walk around with all of this inside us and we just need more outlets. We encouraged each other. I wonder if anyone represented here would have made one of these pieces on their own. Now, perhaps they would.

“Metamorphosis: A Journey Of Dolls” | through Aug 16 | at drawing room, 142 High St, Rooms 532 & 533, Portland | 207.632.2391 | panel discussion 7 pm July 20 | Doll-making workshop 10 am-3 pm July 28, $45, registration required

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Ian Paige: ianpaige@gmail.com

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