Trophies (Doll Factory)

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, plastic toys, cloth, tin, wood, rope carpet, Splash Zone compound, oil, enamel, and spray paint on canvas on wood
75 x 123 x 18 inches

Among Dial’s many commentaries on the life of women is Trophies (Doll Factory) from 2000. A darkly humorous, even absurdist critique of woman’s oppression and exploitation, this drama of modern gender politics is set in a nightmarish toy jungle. Within the artist’s twisted fantasia, an assortment of lion and tiger figurines stalk a garish chorus of half-dressed Barbie dolls whose plastic smiles belie their grim predicament. Little more than sexual prey, they are painted trophy-cup gold and silver, the glittering objects of pursuit and conquest. Other actors in the scene include a Bambi character, an allusion to unsuspecting innocence, as well as two monkey figures, Dial’s old symbol for a tenaciously corrupt social system. Finally, embedded throughout the composition are the artist’s familiar rug scraps and carpet rope, appearing here as symbols for women’s denigration. —Joanne Cubbs