Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dreamy and Dark

Library - 2007 (The City) Lori Nix
Ages ago I came across the above image and I loved it. Unfortunately, as is the way sometimes, I was not able to track it back to its original source, so I had no idea who made it or what the context was. I couldn't tell how it was made either; it didn't quite look real but it didn't appear to be painted or digital either. Magic! Obviously.

Finally, the other day, I came across this article and now I know: Lori Nix. She creates these intricate shoebox worlds and then photographs them.

Ah! No wonder I like it. Dioramas: I am a fan.
Clockwise from top left: Olympic Forest, 2010 (Unnatural History); Birdhouses, 2001 (Lost);
Birds in Flight, 2001 (Some Other Place); Clock Tower, 2005 (The City)
 Her earliest stuff evokes a rather lovely stop-motion horror movie feeling. I especially like her later work, in particular the series' Unnatural History and The City. There's something delightfully eerie about seeing wild things take back an urban landscape. Sad too, and I think that's part of the point. On her website Lori Nix talks about having a sense of humour in/about her work though, so I don't think she's all gloom and doom.

Clockwise from largest: Aquarium, 2007 (The City); Angler Fish, 2009 (Unnatural History);
Mastodon, 2009 (Unnatural History); T-Rex, 2010 (Unnatural History) 

Clockwise from largest: Fountain, 2008 (The City); Botanic Garden, 2008 (The City);
Museum of Art, 2005 (The City); Majestic, 2006 (The City)
I made mosaics because that's the easiest way to share heaps of images, and there are indeed so very many lovely, haunting images to share. The best way to see them, though, is full size so you can poke around and take note of the staggering detail in each little window.

Map Room, 2010 (The City)

Quotes from Lori Nix's "About" page:

"Inspiration comes from reading the daily newspaper The New York Times, science fiction paperbacks and magazine articles. I get most of my ideas during my morning subway commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan to go to my day job. Something about the morning light, the rocking of the subway, seeing the cityscape pass by opens my mind up to inspiration."

"Currently it takes about seven months to build a scene and two to three weeks to shoot the final image. "

"I am fascinated, maybe even a little obsessed, with the idea of the apocalypse."

"I am interested in depicting danger and disaster, but I temper this with a touch of humor."

"In my newest body of work "The City" I have imagined a city of our future, where something either natural or as the result of mankind, has emptied the city of it's human inhabitants. Art museums, Broadway theaters, laundromats and bars no longer function. The walls are deteriorating, the ceilings are falling in, the structures barely stand, yet Mother Nature is slowly taking them over. These spaces are filled with flora, fauna and insects, reclaiming what was theirs before man's encroachment. I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but at the same time I am fascinated by what a changing world can bring."

Natural History, 2005 (The City)