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About Virginia McConnell


My art is inspired by the people I see around me every day. I am fascinated by their expressions, their mannerisms, and the way their thoughts and reactions and personalities are manifested in their appearance. I can’t resist trying to guess what stories people are carrying with them: what experiences have shaped them, what they are thinking about, what they will do next. My work is my way of expressing that fascination and sharing my observations with the world.


When I begin a new doll, I envision a specific person in a specific situation. My focus is on the facial expressions and gestures that tell the story of that person. I am not interested in making idealized faces or static poses. I want every piece to represent a unique individual in a precise moment.


To me, art dolls are a particularly effective way to express some of the complexity of what it means to be a person. Through sculpting I can explore anatomy, facial expression, posture, and gestures. Creating the dolls’ clothing and possessions allows me to further develop the character’s story and relationship to the world. I find that using multiple media makes the work more layered and complex and, ultimately, meaningful.


Much of my earlier work was inspired by fairy tales and poems from my childhood. Recently, however, I find myself turning in a slightly different direction. At a time of increasing social and political disjunction it sometimes feels as if the divisions among us are becoming nearly insurmountable. In response to this I have been focusing on the sort of simple, everyday pleasures that everyone understands -- the experiences that unite us all as human beings. I hope that by making work that emphasizes our natural instinct to seek joy, and our universal response to it, I can help to remind my viewers of what we have in common.

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