Artist Abigail Goldman has an attention to detail that’s extraordinary.
Her collection of small sculptures is wittily entitled “Dieoramas.” They’re so tiny that the viewer has to get really close to them and stare intently to discern what’s happening. Her little people aren’t even an inch tall. According to Juxtapoz, “The artist constructs each fictitious scene using a variety of materials, such as synthetic grass, styrofoam, and model train set figures.”
At first glance, they appear to show domestic household scenes, bucolic outdoor environments, and idyllic suburban tableaus.
But look closer and you’ll see crime-scene carnage, dismembered bodies, the aftermath of shootings, and other homicidal scenes that seem to show just a frame of a true-crime movie. Some of her works seem to portray the perpetrator of the crime in the moments right after the grim deed, meditating upon what they’ve done, or attempting to clean up blood and body parts.
Interestingly, Goldman is a former crime reporter and also worked as an investigator for the Las Vegas Federal Public Defender, so her knowledge of real-life homicide couldn’t help but inform her artwork. In an interview with Juxtapoz, Goldman stated:
“I was drawn to reporting and investigating because of my lifelong interest in crime and bad behavior. Observing and working in the legal system gave me sideline access to the fascinating, fluid dynamics of crime – and crime can tap into everything: misery, love, malice, sex, grief, humor, humanity and inhumanity, life and death. I try to imbue all my work with that mortal mix, in miniature.”
Goldman’s “Dieoramas” are reminiscent of Frances Glessner Lee’s Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Glessner Lee’s dioramas were larger — dollhouse-size — and modeled specifically after real crime scenes that took place in New England. Although she fashioned her grim tableaus in the 1930s and ’40s, she’d probably enjoy Goldman’s modern update on her craft.
Goldman has a wry sense of humor about her work. On her official Facebook page, she writes, “The truth is, there’s just a razors edge between the grotesque and the funny, and someone’s got to slide down it.”
Wishful Thinking, an exhibition of Goldman’s “Dieoramas,” is on display at the Spoke gallery in Manhattan through March 26.
Main photo: “Cover Up” by Abigail Goldman/official website promotional image [AbigailGoldman.com]