Artist statement

I use works on paper to playfully invite serious conversations. I do this by repainting iconic figures from fine art history and pop culture as children’s paper dolls. The resulting artworks refer to contemporary feminist topics such as representation, gender norms, and power.

The beauty described by my paintings is both seductive and problematic. I signal my ambivalence about these symbols in several ways. These disruptive ways of reproducing images are consistent with the format of commercial paper dolls. By depriving these icons of their original faces and backgrounds, I shift their meaning. My paintings often pair figures from different centuries. This is my way of emphasizing their similarities and showing their relevance to the present day. My compositions are playful and sarcastic, but my decision to meticulously hand paint each of these paper doll costumes hints at the personal value I place on art history.

I affirm the inescapability of canons and history by repainting them. Subverting those icons by translating them into toys reflects my optimism; we are influenced, but not controlled, by tradition.


Colleen Wampole (b. 1984) lives and works in northern California.  She earned her BA at Principia College in Illinois, and will complete her MFA at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2014.  Her artwork has appeared in shows in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and California.

Wampole’s current artistic practice conflates fine art history and pop culture.  Iconic figures from each are depicted as hand-painted paper doll costumes.  These costumes are broadly linked by their connection to feminist topics such as representation, agency, and gender roles.


MFA group thesis show:

Icebox Project Space, Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Opening Reception:

Friday, November 21, 2014

5-8 PM





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