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The Mechanical Baby

By Lois Morrison
Leonia, New Jersey: Lois Morrison, 2000. Edition of 25.


In this third installment in her saga of the dolls, and following her practice of using found objects as inspiration, Morrison continues to explore survival and aloneness in an oddly melancholic, yet hopeful tale. (I recall a line from Emily Dickinson: "After great pain, a formal feeling comes . . .") In this edition, the actual "baby" of the title is a rusty old toy that, wires exposed, is missing a head and is crouched in an eternal crawling position. Color Xerox pop-outs of the doll, photographed from different vantage points, crawl across a black and white, Gocco-printed, accordion-fold landscape that was drawn from the terrain around the artist's summer residence.


There is the suggestion of autonomy, the survival of the spirit, inherent in the series, which began with her titles, The Hollow Dolls (1998) and After (1999). The lonely, isolated determination of the mechanical baby is an emblem of will, which moves us forward in the face of despair despite the odds. The terrain could be the landscape of memory or loss, at once a shared and an individual experience. With spare text, the pages are haunting, dreamlike. The reader is drawn into an altered world, and perhaps touches an altered, contemplative state.


6.25 x 4.5"; 8 spreads. Accordion fold Color xeros pop-outs. Gocco prints on Magnani Pescia paper; Amherst type. Color copied dolls laminated onto acid-free drawing paper. Color Gocco-printed cotton over board covers with ribbon ties. Hand cut and assembled.

(Last two copies)

The Mechanical Baby

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