Karen Davis: The McCann Family
Photographs of vintage plastic dolls, arranged in dioramas of family life that reflect the artist’s childhood.
The McCann Family
exhibition of emphatically colored still lifes; vintage plastic dolls
arranged in dioramas of family life. Includes 12 x 18" archival pigment
prints and 20 x 30" chromogenic prints.
we were small, my younger sister, Cheryl, played with a set of dolls
she called the "McCann Family." They were a thinly disguised version of
our family. Cheryl decided she was "Tom McCann," the spunky boy doll. I
was, "MaryAnn," the girl doll. Cheryl often had Mother McCann say to
Tom, "Mary Ann is wonderful."(If I wrote the script, Mother would say,
"Tom is so gifted" and "Mary Ann is average.")
first Tom could stand alone. Later he always lost his balance.
Cheryl diagnosed him with Polio. She fitted him with crutches and
braces like hers. (Cheryl was born with spina bifida.) Tom thought
Mother disliked having a disabled child. He felt bad about that. One
day, Father's leg fell off. Cheryl taped it back on as a prosthesis.
After Father became an amputee, he was a lot more understanding about
When Cheryl died in 2006, I
inherited the McCann Family. Placing them on stage - directing their
actions, brings me back to our childhood and to memories of my
Karen Davis is a photographer, book artist, and teacher.
work is featured at MASS MoCA, the Houghton Rare Books Library, Harvard
University; the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll & Sons Gallery
and corporate and private collections. She is represented by The Clark
Gallery - Lincoln, MA.
from her on-going project, "Close to Home" will be exhibited at the
Lichui International Photo Festival in China, November, 2009. Her
series, "The McCann Family," was exhibited at the Griffin Museum of
Photography, (Fall 2008.) Davis's "Visual Memoir" project appeared in
the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of The Women's Review of Books . In
2006, she received the Director's Prize in the CAA National Prize Show
and in 2005, three of her photographs were exhibited in "hrlm:
pictures" at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Solo exhibitions include:
Wadleigh Gallery, Chester College; the Dean's Gallery at MIT; the
Carpenter Center, Harvard University; and Gallery 57 of the Cambridge
Much of her work can be viewed at www.YesThatKarenDavis.com