Dollmakers- The Doll Show

by on Mar.22, 2011, under Syndicated from the Web

I am really going to try and go by here before April 5th.
Here is an article about the show from the Eagle Rock Patch
The Gallery of the Dolls (Move Over American Girl)
A doll-themed art show opens at Cactus Gallery—from Goth to Mexican folk art, there’s enough doll power on display to make Barbie tremble.
By Philipp Sander 
Usually, the place to find dolls is children’s bedrooms, and perhaps the corresponding aisle at Toys ‘R’ Us. Throughout the remainder of March and until April 5, however, Eagle Rock’s Cactus Gallery is a pretty sure bet, too.

Celebrating its sixth birthday, the gallery opened a new show, titled “Dollmakers,” on Saturday, featuring 26 artists from all over the Golden State and more than 200 pieces of their art. The event coincided with NELAart’s monthly Second Saturday Gallery Night.

For an art gallery that specializes in multimedia, painting and sculpture, it might seem a little unusual to put on a show themed around dolls. But as Sandra Mastroianni, the owner of Cactus Gallery, put it: “It just was time to do a doll show.”

The dolls certainly struck a nerve with visitors. The small gallery was packed with artists, art lovers and Eagle Rockers, who gazed in awe at the wide range of doll styles on display while a duo of musicians, Tom Page and 5 Track, on double bass and guitar, respectively, jammed in front of the store. (Check out the photo section.)

Several artists injected a Gothic look in their dolls, giving them white, porcelain-like faces, gaunt eyes and Victorian-era clothing, all of which echoed the Victorian practice of using deceased infants’ skeletons for doll-making.

For Sheri DeBow, whose dolls were eerily reminiscent of Helena Bonham-Carter’s appearance in the Harry Potter series and in Sweeney Todd (although the likeness is surely coincidental), working with dolls isn’t very different from parenting—and without any of the labors of motherhood.

“After having five kids, I still can create things without having to be pregnant anymore,” she said. Creating dolls can also be a form of self-expression, as one of her pieces, titled “Annie Droid, do what you are told,” makes clear. It reflects her “wearing the mom hat, wearing the wife hat, but also being myself,” as DeBow put it. Her dolls are also inspired by the lives of her children. For example, one of her pieces, “The princess of the palace runs away from home,” revolves around the emotional problems that her daughter faced during DeBow’s divorce.

Some artists chose to work only with cloth, sowing modern stuffed figures in pop-art colors. Also well represented were artists who were inspired by Mexican folk art, presenting giant mosaic-decorated clay skulls and Día de los Muertos figurines. Another unusual sight: Claymation animator Edgar Alvarez created studies of homeless persons, complete with shopping carts filled with eclectic items, thereby shining a light on an often-forgotten group in our society.

Clearly, dolls mean different things to different people. “Dolls can be creepy and they can be happy—I try to show both aspects in my work,” said one artist who goes by the name Bastet 2329 and whose Victorian dolls are one of the highlights of the show. Asked why she works with dolls—she also is a painter—she answered, with a smile: “I get to play with dolls all day. Isn’t that every girl’s dream?”

Dollmakers runs until April 5 at Cactus Gallery and Gifts, 4536 Eagle Rock Blvd. Tues-Sat: 11a.m.-6 p.m. Sun-Mon: by appointment.


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