Monday, September 7, 2009

My Own Private Kansas: The Art of Lori Nix

As a child, I created diminutive dimensions using miniature figurines that I collected in a Mason jar. Each day, I would place a strange assembly of characters under my grandmother's bonsai trees. Each potted plant served as a separate universe. Tiny farm figurines with weathered faces of chipped paint would commune with crackerjack creatures. Eventually, my miniature settings developed into an entire world that sprawled out into my grandmother's Zen garden of pebbles, ceramic bridges and mountains of rocks that lay beneath an old oak tree. Suddenly, my minuscule world became enormous. Working with the small enabled me to see the larger picture. The same is true with the incredibly stunning work of artist/photographer, Lori Nix.

Nix creates dioramas of deconstruction that thoughtfully capture the tranquility of post-apocalypse and the banality of midwestern abandonment (typically set in Nix's own childhood Kansas). Inspired by the "gods hand of nature", Lori Nix fabricates landscapes of catastrophe ironically painted in Norman Rockwell-esque tones and then photographed. The combined element of miniature artifice and photography feel like a crime-scene commentary of America. Nix's dioramas feature crumbling metropolises and lost highways guided by silent satellites. One can easily see Nix resurrecting Chernobyl out of tiny plastic animals and aluminum cans or capturing the eerie absence of humans in Alan Weisman's exploratory tale, The World Without Us. Lori Nix combines the decay of landscapes with the embodiment of human mystery in dioramas of locales where anything can happen and then be silently forgotten.

Ms. Nix's photo series have been featured in the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas and at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.

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