Kim Dingle, 1994-95

Priss' Room
dolls: porcelain, china paint, painted steel wool; dart boards: oil on wood with darts; wallpapered panels, linoleum floor, cribs, power tools, debris
Collection of Eileen and Peter Norton, Santa Monica. Courtesy Blum & Poe
© 1995 Kim Dingle


The Priss' Room installation offers a hellish nursery inhabited by menacing toddlers in frilly white party dresses and black Mary Janes. The "priss" girls -- actually porcelain dolls made by Dingle -- serve as symbols of assertiveness and competitiveness. The seductive appeal of violence and the absence of innocence underlie this arresting tableau. The girls clearly relish their reign of destruction and the power "high" that comes with following their uncivilized impulses. We are shocked to see such behavior associated with little girls, although it may seem less startling when perpetrated by someone wearing a jacket and tie.

The most intriguing aspect of the ensemble is the fact that Dingle has included "priss" dolls with a variety of skin tones. Rather than being central to the action, the differences seem irrelevant. Here we are struck by how much the girls have in common.