dioramas

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Art Photography

New Miniature Post-Apocalyptic Environments by Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber

February 15, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber (previously) collaboratively produce detailed dioramas caught in the throes of natural or manmade chaos. From 2005 to 2015 the pair created a series titled The City, which imagined the post-apocalyptic interiors of abandoned violin shops, malls, and natural history museums. Empire, a follow-up suite of miniature scenes, serves as a companion to this series by looking at the same imagined future from an exterior point of view.

Nix and Gerber’s new scenes move away from a focus on water-damaged and rusty interiors to explore broad outdoor environments recently devoid of civilization. Scaffolding and bridges crumble as plants begin to poke back through cement cracks, subtle hints that nature has begun to reclaim its land.

Empire presents a world transformed by climate uncertainty and a shifting social order as it stumbles towards a new kind of frontier,” the pair explain in a statement. “These places are eerily beautiful but also unsettling in their stillness and silence. Long ago, man entered the landscape and forced nature to his will. Once grand and emblematic of strength and prosperity, these landscapes now appear abused and in decay, and it is uncertain how they will continue to (d)evolve.”

Each labor intensive model can take up to 7 months to produce, which often means that Nix and Gerber will only finish two photographs a year. The handcrafted dioramas are built from cardboard, foam, and glue—impermanent supplies which are deconstructed and recycled after each shoot.

“I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but I am also fascinated by what a changing world can bring,” Nix told Colossal. “I think this is part of why we make the work we do, to try to reconcile these different attitudes.”

The pair will exhibit images from Empire at their upcoming show at Chicago-based Catherine Edelman Gallery from March 2 to April 28. You can see more of their miniature scenes from both The City and Empire on their Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Photography

Miniature Scenes Set Amongst Office Supplies by Derrick Lin

August 2, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Photographer Derrick Lin captures the minutiae of everyday office life across landscapes of notebooks, paper clips, and coffee mugs populated with tiny figures. Working only with his iPhone, desk lighting, and a broad array of miniatures, Lin creates visual commentary on office life as well as recreations of popular artworks or scenes of escape. Many of his photos have been collected into an upcoming book titled Work, Figuratively Speaking: The Big Setbacks and Little Victories of Office Life, published this fall through Universe. See more on Instagram. (via Creators Project)

 

 



Art Photography

Weeds and Flowers Recast as Shadowy Subjects in Daniel Shipp’s Dramatic Photographs

July 31, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

In Daniel Shipp's series Botanical Inquiry, the Sydney-based photographer explores how plants and flowers found at the edges of urban infrastructure fit into our modern world. Shipp collects seemingly unremarkable plants and photographs the subjects in built dioramas, an environment that allows him to manipulate the relationship between foreground and background with a controlled precision. Through this process he is able to create dramatic photographs in-camera, shooting digitally but using old visual effects techniques developed for early cinema.

By highlighting botanical specimens we have culturally labeled “weeds,” Shipp attempts to shift the viewer’s perspective on flora that they might walk past each day. He recasts these marginal plants as the subject of each of his photographic stories, showcasing their knack for survival even in the face of pollution and harmful human intervention.

“There are some beautiful ‘weeds’ that we might walk past all the time,” Shipp explains to Colossal. “I knew that if I could present these often unnoticed plants in the right context that there was potential for storytelling. Next time you go for a walk make an effort to look for plants in places you wouldn’t normally—shopping center carparks, service stations etc.”

Shipp further explained that one of the most beautiful colors he has photographed for the series was found on the underside of the foliage of a plant common to industrial parks across Sydney. The hidden purple was one of the most incredible metallic shades he had ever seen, and it had been sneakily surrounding him for the majority of his life.

Shipp was recently announced as the winner of Magnum and LensCulture's 2017 Fine Art Photo Award. You can see more of his photographs on his website and Instagram, and take a behind-the-scenes look at his Botanical Inquiry series in the short video below. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Art Illustration

New Behind-the-Scenes Images of Irma Gruenholz’s Clay Portraits and Illustrations

October 5, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Madrid-based graphic designer and illustrator Irma Gruenholz (previously here and here), crafts her illustrations out of clay, turning the typically 2D medium on its head by creating brightly dressed figures in 3D environments. Gruenholz meticulously places and photographs each of the works, placing them in books, posters and advertisements. The artist is generous about letting her audience witness her process, snapping step-by-step images that outline actions such as making tiny sandals and arranging the hairs on a mermaid’s head.

This year, Gruenholz was shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards in London, and work is also included in the recent book “Alchemy: The Art and Craft of Illustration” now available in the Colossal Shop. You explore more of her ceramic illustration work on Behance and her website.

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Art Photography

A Short Film Detailing the Miniature Replication of Nix + Gerber’s Post-Apocalyptic Studio

May 26, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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“Library” (2007), all images via The Drawing Room

Since 2005, artist Lori Nix and partner Kathleen Gerber have been producing dioramas that depict post-apocalyptic environments, everyday scenes that give the audience a glimpse of their world once nature has been left to take over. Nearly everything within the scenes is fabricated by the two under the name Nix+Gerber, with each scene taking approximately seven months from start to the final photograph. This means that the two take approximately two photographs a year, spending the bulk of their practice on miniature reproduction.

When deciding the last piece to produce for the body of work “The City,” Nix+Gerber decided to look inward. They choose to replicate their own studio, titled “The Living Room” (2013), which Nix explains actually looks like the end of the world, a disaster scene to fit within the dystopian series. For this particular project they had to work in an extremely meta fashion, scanning each CD that sat on their shelves and reproducing an even smaller replica of a subway train car that was sitting in their studio when they started production.

“It’s the little details that really make the scene come alive,” said Nix. “The fan in the back window, the paracords going everywhere, and the little items on the table.”

Despite the fact that most of Nix’s practice is focused on creating the props for each shoot, she still labels herself as a photographer rather than sculptor. “I’m not the type of photographer that is going to go out and find things to photograph,” said Nix. “I am going to create things to photograph.”

While crafting “The Living Room,” The Drawing Room produced a short documentary about Nix+Gerber’s practice which you can see below. You can also read more about the artists’ work on their blog, and see more of their miniature scenes on their Instagram and Facebook.

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“Living Room” (2013)

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“Church” (2009)

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“Control Room” (2010)

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“Anatomy Classroom” (2012)

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“Laundromat at Night” (2008)

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“The Subway” (2012)

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“Chinese Take-Out” (2013)

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“Museum of Art” (2010)

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“Beauty Shop” (2010)

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Art

Tiny Mixed Media Worlds and Creatures Inside Antique Boxes by Allison May Kiphuth

March 22, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Quiet, 2015. Ink, watercolor, paper and pins in antique box. 5.5″h x 11.75″w x 4.5″d.

Artist Allison May Kiphuth captures scenes inspired by her surroundings in Maine and along the New Hampshire sea coast by squeezing them into small wooden boxes scarcely a few inches wide. Her mixed media dioramas are constructed from layered ink and watercolor illustrations assembled with pins and string inside antique boxes. The content of each artwork varies from piece to piece from underwater scenes of sea life, to magical tiny worlds populated by forest creatures.

Kiphuth recently had a solo show titled Interior at Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids and will have work on view next month at the What Goes Around show at Nahcotta Gallery in New Hampshire. You can see more of her work at Enormous Tiny Art and on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

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The Meeting, 2015. Ink, watercolor, paper, pin and thread in antique box. 4.25″h x 4.25″w x 1.75″d.

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Nocturne, 2015. Ink, watercolor, paper and pins in antique box. 6.5″h x 4.5″w x 3.625″d. // Contentment, 2015. Ink, watercolor, paper, thread and pins in antique box. 7″h x 4.5″w x 3.75″d.

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The Spectators, 2015. Ink, watercolor, paper and thread in antique box. 4.25″h x 6.5″w x 3.75″d.

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Harbor, 2015. Ink, watercolor, paper and pins in antique box. 2.5″h x 3.125″w x 2″d.

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Perch, 2015. Ink, watercolor and paper in antique box. 1.25″h x 2.75″w x 1.125″d.

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Design History

A French Museum Dedicated to Over 100 Hyperrealistic Miniature Film Sets

October 12, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Le collectionneur de Brooklyn_Miniature de Dan Ohlmann

Housed in a 16th century building in the historic center of Lyon, France is the Musée Miniature et Cinéma, a 5-story museum containing over 100 miniature film sets. The tiny scenes were produced by world-renowned miniaturists and contain the highest form of Hyperrealism in order to trick the audience’s eye into believing each set was indeed life-size.

The handcrafted models contain all the minuscule features that would be found in the film’s actual scene, from fake mold inhabiting peeling walls to scratches seen behind tiny bedposts. The props in the museum’s scenes are also placed with incredible accuracy, disheveled books in libraries propped against each other at just the right angle, and miniature Charles Eames chairs that would even fool the designer. Accurate within these scenes is also their relationship to outside light, windows accentuating or distilling the light to position the set in the right time of day, geographic location or season.

“The subtle lighting arrangement, the painstaking replication of old textures, the use of the same original materials, all contribute to the creation of a moving poetry that resonates with each new miniature panorama,” explains the museum’s website.

If you don’t happen to be traveling to France anytime soon you can see more images of the meticulously detailed scenes on the Musée Miniature et Cinéma’s gallery page here. (via Beautiful/Decay)

Paquebot Normandie - Miniature de Dan Ohlmann

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Le dortoir - Miniature de Dan Ohlmann

D.O. Temple Kurama

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Maxim's de Paris - Miniature de Dan Ohlmann

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Le théâtre de Cupidon - Miniature de Dan Ohlmann

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Archives_Miniature de Dan Ohlmann

Prison Saint Paul - Miniature de Dan Ohlmann

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Animal Multi-Tool