Matthew Rolston: Talking Heads presents monumental color portraits of dummies chosen from a collection of nearly seven hundred ventriloquists dolls (dating from 1820 –1980) housed at the Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.
In 2010, Rolston set up a portrait studio at the museum and photographed each of his subjects in an identical manner: square format, low angle, monochromatic backdrop, and a single light source. The resulting photographs are grounded in a visual vocabulary articulated by Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and Andy Warhol; they also invoke the classic tropes of Pygmalian: energize the inanimate, and in so doing, infuse them with an idiosyncratic and expressive humanity. The photographer argues on behalf of our collective humanity, and he offers the gaze of these portraits as an avenue of connection.
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