Throughout history, dolls have been a haunting presence in the human imagination. Either as toys or collectibles, they are cherished by the people who own them. Often given to young girls as playthings, dolls allow children to simulate grown-up activities and responsibilities, and enforce gender roles in a startling way at a very early age. Children then grow up and leave these objects behind.
In these photographs the dolls have been stripped of their context. The use of a black background allows the viewer to impose their own imagined histories upon them. They are weathered, show signs of aging, the veneer is tarnished, the porcelain's sheen dulled, the fabric faded, and one can imagine that they provided hours of entertainment for children who are now gone. They offer insight into the culture and sociology of their time period and are now more historical artifacts than playthings.
The dolls were created to be beautiful, but years past their creation, the real beauty exists in their worn and faded aesthetic and in the suggestion of a life experienced.
This series of dolls has both a light and dark side: sometimes humorous, sometimes disturbing. It is fascinating to imagine their history, their lives, and the people who owned them. As time passes, a child grows physically from within and without. Dolls do not. Dolls age through wear and tear but do not change from within: they do not grow. They are eternally childlike, preserved in their perfect youth forever, locked in their attics waiting to be rediscovered.
Claire Rosen is an award winning artist whose transportive imagery uses universal themes of dreams, fairy tales and mythology to visually symbolize the many facets of the human condition. Her elaborate constructions are reminiscent of classical paintings, and evoke the aesthetics and ideals of Pre-Raphaelite, Romantic and Gothic periods. The dark and whimsical images often explore concepts of nostalgia, memory, femininity and depictions of the self, frequently referencing the Victorian Era with its fascination of the natural world and ideals of beauty.
Catalogue: Fairy Tales & Other Stories Published October 14, 2014
Catalogue: Nostalgia: a study in color Published October 14, 2014
Catalogue: The Fantastical Feasts Published October 14, 2014
Catalogue: Birds of a Feather Published October 14, 2014