by George Tysh
"The look of life is tied to having and controlling life," writes John Marriott in his incisive catalog essay for The Doll House, a show organized by Windsor’s enfant du visible, Mark Laliberte. That stark installation of works by five women artists picked at the wounds of our ancient fascination with the cuddly effigies that comfort us as children — and puzzle, even frighten, us as adults. As Laliberte writes in the same catalog, "The doll is a welcomed illusion." And this vivid souvenir publication, complete with eight color plates and four black-and-whites, goes to the center of our love affair with the imaginary figure, our ongoing willingness to "play" with these stand-ins for human life. Françoise Duvivier’s almost primitive crones, Dame Darcy’s totems of night, Catherine Heard’s malady-ridden children, Magdalen Celestino’s seductive wallflowers — these powerful doll shapes form a ring around "Horror and Whimsy," Melissa Mazar’s mournful throng of ghouls, a sort of night of the living Gumbies. Too bad if you missed last winter’s exhibition at Artcite Inc., but this book is a reminder to one and all that childhood has no end.
For more info on The Doll House or Artcite, write 109 University Avenue West, Windsor, Ontario, CA N9A-5P4, call 519-977-6564.
George Tysh is Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.