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The artwork of Laurie Langford- shadowboxes, printmaking, assemblage, photography, collage, installations, video

Guys & Dolls

April 8 - May 2, 2009
Chatham, Ontario



"Interesting Portrayal of Barbie and Ken"

Guys & Dolls: Laurie Langford

by Ellwood Shreve

Chatham Daily News

March 2009


Learning printmaking has helped Laurie Langford get her artistic groove back and now she's ready to show it off.

A solo exhibition of the Chatham woman's works of print, collage on prints and photographic images of action figure dolls, titled Guys & Dolls,

will be featured at ARTspace from April 8 to May 2.


Langford said in the past, her artwork consisted mainly of three-dimensional collages in shadow boxes, "but I kind of hit the wall."

She said Carl Lavoy, director/ curator of the Thames Art Gallery, suggested she take a printmaking class in order to try something different.

"Wow, I loved it," Langford said. "It was just fun being in that environment with other artists."

She has since completed two new-style shadow boxes that will be featured in the exhibit.

"I think they're the best ones I've done," she said. "I got out of a rut."

The printmaking class she took at the Thames Art Gallery inspired the Guys & Dolls exhibition.

"I suddenly had this idea of photographing Barbie and Kentype dolls as stereotypes and turning those images into art prints," she said.

Like many other girls, Langford played with Barbie-type dolls.

"Except, what I did with my Barbies is I posed them and I would take pictures," she said.

She uses headlines from The Globe and Mail newspaper and works them into her prints in an out-of-context manner to add some humour to her work.

"That combination appeals to me: art that isn't too serious but makes you think," Langford said.

Her humour is also reflected in about a dozen "disassembled icons featuring Barbie-type fashion dolls" that will be featured in the display window at ARTspace. Langford marries pieces of dolls with everyday items, such as a can of soup, to make statements on society.

The image of an unrealistically proportioned Barbie is something young women have tried to achieve for the past 50 years. However, Langford said if a real person was portioned like that, she would probably fall over.

She first publicly displayed one of her shadow boxes when her submission to the 2006 Eye for Art exhibition was accepted.

She was surprised her work sold during the opening night of the event, which highlights the works of local artists.

"Once that happened to me, I felt I was on to something," she added, noting there was an appeal to the original type of art she had created.


       -Ellwood Shreve


Ellwood Shreve is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Chatham Daily News for almost two decades.

He currently covers the education beat along with other general assignments.




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