As little children many of us played with paper dolls, carefully cutting out with scissors the provided paper costumes, placing them over the cardboard dolls and folding down the white tabs to hold the various outfits in place. Is that childhood activity echoed in our adult passion for fashion? Did it influence the way we choose clothing from the almost inexhaustible selections of fabrics and styles available to us? Did it affect how much thought we put into our sometimes obsessive, daily rituals of covering and uncovering our bodies?
Paper Doll Portraits asks those questions. It also considers how the world around us affects the way we dress. What if our skin reacted like a chameleon’s, automatically changing in response to our environments? Our emotions? Our thoughts? Would that kind of visual communication lead to deeper understanding between us, or would it be a source of near constant embarrassment and confusion? Truth is, the fabrics we wrap ourselves in both express and cover up who we really are.
In this series fabric becomes a new palette for me, sometimes blending in with the backgrounds and other times creating a stark contrast. The colours, patterns and textures will help us explore many aspects of being a woman and a human being in our complex world. In a spirit of collaboration, I am using the gorgeous, subtle, brilliant and outrageous creations of fabric designers to explore new physical, emotional and intellectual terrain. Faces and bodies in these compositions are treated as symbolic representations of womanhood, and the viewer is invited to open up to touching chords of understanding and shared experience.
Through collage I am organizing the visual overload of our times, and looking for the hidden beauty in the patterns, colours and shapes, a stepping off platform to explore and experience what it is like to be human in this time and place.