Renee Audette

Bunny Pull Toy
mixed media sculpture
8 x 6 x 4 in.

Each Reflecting on my girlhood, I am confronted with memories of unattainable childish desires, and fragile fantasy worlds erected in an effort to keep the real world at bay.

My adult self views these visions through a rosy film of sentimentality and from the safe distance the passage of time provides. I identify my own lost childhood with the discarded remnants of girlhoods past and am fascinated by the nostalgic bric-a-brac and toys I often discover in antique shops and second hand stores. Dolls, ceramic figurines, and music boxes are objects which I frequently reference in my work. The sentimental cuteness and delicacy of objects such as these parallel ideas about girlishness and the importance placed on being pretty.

My work describes a longing to be the perfect little ballerina or princess. At the same time, it pokes fun at the absurdity of these desires and comments on the vulnerability and inadequacy girls may feel when they fail to fit neatly into feminine roles like these. My autobiographical sculpture is from the perspective of an adult looking back on childhood. This reflection on girlhood is an attempt to understand the ways in which I view myself and how my self-image has been shaped by my striving for perfect feminine beauty and charm.

I juxtapose sugary sweetness with a dark and sinister quality in my work, creating an ironic commentary on unrealistic feminine expectations, which embraces all the romantic notions of girlhood even while exposing them as fairytales.

My sculptures state clearly that the knight in shining armor is not going to show. They convey the impression of a dream not quite realized, a longing left unsated. These harsh realities accurately reflect the realizations that often occur early in life as childhood innocence and naiveté are eroded and reality sets in.

© Renee Audette