Monday, January 9, 2012

Popular Genre Shines in Contemporary Art

Last Friday, the Toledo Art Museum lured me to visit. To my delight, it featured a special exhibition called "Small Worlds" with work by several contemporary artists. The collection that captured my interest the most was titled "The City" by Lori Nix.

(If you would like to view "The City," it is linked to a dedicated webpage in her site. For other collections by Lori Nix, browse her website,

Lori uses unconventional methods with her art. She defines herself as a non-traditional photographer because she constructs the subject matter she photographs. Another difference in her work is her use of old-school photography techniques rather than digital manipulation to achieve the correct lighting and scale. The result is an impressive, whimsical, stunning, off-putting, clever feast for the eyes and mind.

I could have studied each photo for hours, but it only took a quick peek at one of her pictures to recognize the theme. A cataclysmic event has wiped out humanity, and the photos reflect the world a period of time after the event. In almost (or maybe every) shot, some aspect of nature has overtaken the building or space photographed.

I immediately thought of the popularity of post-apocalyptic fiction. For a few years now, novels and movies have regularly portrayed life after a cataclysmic event. It was really cool to see this genre in art form, except with a twist--the artist didn't need a human protagonist to carry a movie or book, and she was free to imagine the world with nature taking over.

As I strolled from photo to photo, I was disturbed and charmed. She did an amazing job of creating a mood in each scene. One in particular, "The Laundromat," has two depictions--daytime and at night. The daytime photo depressed me more than the night photo. The day photo held no sign of life whereas I found two funny rats in the evening one. It made me realize how much life, the sheer act of living, in any form--humans, animals, insects, even trees--brings hope.

Although I can't guarantee you'll enjoy and interpret Lori Nix's work the same way I did, I can assure you you'll be stunned by the level of detail and craftsmanship she uses to create each scene.

Have you had the privilege of viewing any contemporary art lately? Do you see any literary themes manifested in other art forms?

Have a lovely Monday!


  1. I haven't recently but that sounds fascinating. All post apocalyptic is a bit depressing though.

  2. Those are amazing. I especially like the one on the homepage. Very cool!

  3. Had to comment because I have a personal interest in art, so was glad to see your interest in it, too. But I was also surprised by your artist, Lori Nix, who I knew in college! I lost track of her back in the early '90s not long after we graduated. So glad to see her success.

  4. No, but you make me want to go see some!

  5. No, I haven't either. But it sounds really cool. will check out her link.
    Happy New Year!

  6. I haven't either, but how neat! I am not a fan of post-apocalyptic books. :) Hope you have a great week, Jill!

  7. When viewing contemporary art, I am grateful for the titles under the paintings or photographs! I will check out the link. Thanks!

  8. After speaking w/ you I was in such a museum mood. I'm glad you felt your creativity sparked and you brain cogs moved.

    I love art. I'm a horrible painter though. Currently painting a "Tangled" sun on DD's wall. Yeah, so sad.
    ~ Wendy

  9. Thanks for the link. Sounds fascinating. I will go check it out.

  10. Laura: I agree. I hate the thought of a world without people.

    Julie: They are really cool! I wish you could see them at the museum. :)

    Larissa: No way! What a small, small world, isn't it? :) Her art fascinates me--thanks so much for sharing!

    Katie: I don't go to the museums nearly enough. I'd love to get to UofMich's art museum this spring. I've never been there!

    Jennifer: It's fun to get different visuals. I think it is at least!

    Jessica P: Me neither. I like the warm fuzzies!

    Lynn: So am I. I don't always "get" what the artist is trying to convey. It helps to have a title to spell it out for me!

    Wendy: I'm impressed! I like to sketch a little and I play with waterpaints occasionally, but it's very, very amateur hour!

    Susan: Enjoy!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. I haven't checked out an art museum in several months. I'm more into the Renaissance and old masters' paintings, but I will check out this artist. Thanks, Jill!

  12. Those pictures are sort of over my head. I like the one with the vacuum cleaners. It has a great visual look and great balance of the images and colors.

    I don't think I can answer your question. Art doesn't usually link me with writing in any way. Thanks for the tour. It's always fun to see new ideas and things.

  13. I was wondering how your museum visit went! I'm glad you got to see something so intriguing, it sounds interesting :)

  14. I will check out the link, Jill, and bet this day has stirred up your own creativity (perhaps in some surprising ways)!

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Wow!! I'm back from a quick tour. My mouth was hanging open, it was not what I'd expected - and think I could have spent hours browsing in person!

    The theater reminds me so much of an abandoned theater my girlfriend and I used to play it. (For a short period, her family lived in an apartment you could only reach by going through the theater.) Not many kids get the chance to be a "star" in their own personal theater!!


  16. Brandi: Really? You would like the Toledo Art Museum. They have quite a few gorgeous Renaissance pieces.

    Nancy: I know! I think you really have to spend some time studying the pictures to get a perspective on them. Fun stuff!

    Cindy: I did! I had a wonderful time there. It was just what I needed to get back into the creative spirit. :)

    Patti: How cool! We used to go to an old movie theater like that also, except my memories include my feet sticking to the floor and the distinct smell of urine. Ha!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  17. I love museums, too... Although, I could never stare at a painting for hours. I'm much more of a zoom through observer. ;) Lucky for me, my brother's an artist in NYC. Give me great opportunities to explore other art forms, besides literary.


I love to hear from you!