Teresa Tolliver


Teresa Toliver is an assemblage artist who’s work focuses on embodying her personal experience, identity, and philosophy of life. Through ceramics, painting, and mixed media, Toliver uses found materials to create objects which represents her experience as a Black woman living in America. As her main production, the artist creates doll works, which highlight the importance of black representation in contemporary art. She explores notions of femininity, black identity, and history through the creation of the dolls with many layers, objects and mediums. With repurposed fabrics such as yarn, thread, cotton, and stuffed animals, Toliver uses found materials in a process she calls “creative recycling” to build sculptural representations of her cultural past and present. Within blackness and femininity, the doll is a highly loaded subject with important historical lineages including the groundbreaking Mamie Phipps Clark study made prominent in the Brown v. Board of Education court case, which used dolls to demonstrate the effects of segregation on black children’s self image. Teresa’s drive to continually be creating new work demands inexpensive and accessible methods and materials, and results in her unique process of appropriating craft for fine art practice.