Madeleine Gallagher

Title of work

The Lolitas

Work description

A photographic study of American women who form communities in virtual space to gather in public space dressed in the eccentric Japanese fashion style of Elegant Gothic Lolita. Crafting themselves for the consumption of the gaze, Lolitas dress in doll like silhouettes of Rococo and Victorian eras and ornament their bodies with objects of childhood fantasy. This project is a playful and provocative investigation of the construction and performance of the feminine expression of gender identity using the Lolita as temporal bricolage to deconstruct fantasy and hallucination in a internet driven social world. Lolita culture is signified by a regimented complex strata of branding, on line forums, shopping and organized meet ups of “girly” social activities such as tea parties, fashion shows, purikura (japanese photo booths) and picnics. These photographic works implicate the viewer as voyeur in an absurd, unattainable fantasy - enticing viewers to engage in questioning the notion of objectification and fetish in a capitalist system where gender expression is an extension of commerce.


Madeleine Gallagher is a visual artist, educator, and designer. Centered at the intersection of traditional object making, time-based media and performance, Madeleine uses her work to investigate cultural filters and media perception. Madeleine has an MFA from the multidisciplinary art program Mount Royal School of Art at MICA and a BFA from the General Fine Arts Program at MICA. She has exhibited, performed and screened her work in a variety of art spaces, theaters and planetariums in Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Knoxville, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Schenectady. A former Assistant Professor in video art in the experimental film department at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Madeleine returned to school in Fall 2008, to expand her hybrid practice to include media theory and design at UCLA Design Media Arts. She is excited about the parameters design practice offers, and has explored the design process in a variety of experiments that include game design, interactive zoetropes, and physical artifacts the reference cultural obsessions and meme’s in internet culture.