Morbidity as an art form. Decomposition as composition. Shain Erin’s morbid art dolls. Handmade reconstructions of civilizations that are imaginary and never existed. In the absence of factual evidence, they could not have been created out of the void.Somehow the aesthetic form was imparted from a cosmological source. Are they drawn from a recess of dissociated memory,a representation of a personal and social collective unconsciousness?
Partially influenced by world art, pop culture and mythology, Shain Erin produces art dolls that evoke at once a primitve, sideshow aesthetic and a childlike innocence. Their withered heads and raglike bodies are carefully crafted from a variety of materials including found objects, fabric and paperclay. Shain then ages them using various techniques to give them the feeling of antiquity.Part dark whimsey and part assuming a character beyond the artist’s control. Another possibility of modern science catching up with ancient knowledge.
”I’ve always been fascinated with world art and mythology and for about the last ten years I’ve been concentrating on exploring and defining a personal mythology and “history” while honoring and referencing existing world art traditions. . For that reason I refer to my work as Neo-Mythic and see myself as a creator of artifacts that never were.For the last several years I’ve been preoccupied with dolls: I see them as a long under appreciated art form with virtually unlimited expressive possibilities. I’m inspired by traditional world art figures (kachina, bochia, nkisi, namchi, shadow puppets, etc.) while working to push the boundaries of what a “doll” is as far as my imagination and skills will take it.” ( Shain Erin )
Based on a book of Romanian Mircea Eliade, the film Youth Without Youth by francis Ford Coppola, uses a protagonist, professor Dominic Matei, to pursue an anthropological studies of linguistics. The subject of time regression is unavoidable in Erin’s dolls. Matei had comprehended the fate and history of mankind through a completion of the circle of knowledge which passed through Hindu, Buddhist, Sanskrit, Egyptian, Babylonian and older non repertoired cultures. Erin’s work seems located in the intemporal and mythological; a compelling narrative on the nature of time, mystery and secrets at the cusp of ancient cultures; a conjunction of mythological existential truth and continuous social history.
”I see the mummy figures as offerings to honor (and appease) the many restless spirits that haunt the world and I’m always amazed at the personalities that come forth in the process of sculpting their little faces. Each one seems to have a story it wishes to tell . . . as well as secrets it intends to hold against eternity . . .”