Art practice as identity and obsession is at the core of “(numb)Charlottes”. In this case, it’s pretty much dolls: 2-D dolls, 3-D dolls, paper dolls, glass dolls, small, medium and large dolls, doll dresses, doll pets, and, of course, doll furniture.
“Charlotte is derived from Frozen Charlottes, the tiny, usually nude, penny dolls made in obsessive bulk during the Belle Époque,” explains Jennifer Avery, whose work from "(numb)Charlottes" is currently on display at Yellow Peril Gallery from February 1 to March 1. “Frozen Charlottes are named after a folk song about a young woman who refused to wear her coat and froze to death en route to a grand ball.”
In “(numb)Charlottes”, the objects are more than just dolls; they are corpses and self-portraits. This whimsically macabre mix of quantity, identity, femininity, and folklore deeply apply to Avery’s art practice. “Absurdities, contractions, opposites amuse and frighten me – I like things in the uncanny realm of attraction and repulsion,” she shares. “Most of my work takes on the aspects of childhood; particularly dolls through a lens of a cherished nightmare, and identity as these little cherubs are all some sort of self-portrait. One of the inspirations for my adoration of competing dualities comes from a thorough enjoyment and loathing of socially constructed performances of gender and femininity.”
Since winning the Grand Prize at Brown University’s 33rd annual Student Exhibition in March 2013 (Yellow Peril Gallery Director Vanphouthon Souvannasane and Curator Robert P. Stack were the guest jurors), Avery has been very active in the contemporary art scene in Providence. At Brown’s List Art Center in October, she presented “Déshabiller or ‘The Dress Show’”, a collection of vintage dresses that she wore everyday for an entire year. In December, Avery curated “More Beautiful for Having Been Broken”, a group exhibition featuring artists from Brown and RISD, and she was the featured artist at the venerable Dirt Palace in Olneyville with her installation “Terpseachorian Evolutions for a Party of Little Girls.”