Polly Morgan

In 1889 Carl Akeley, working for the Milwaukee Public Museum, created the first total habitat diorama by arranging stuffed muskrats into a facsimile of their natural environment. While the originators of the diorama strove to heighten its sense of reality, many contemporary artists have used the medium’s format to comment on its artificiality or hyper reality.

Polly Morgan is one such fairly new British artist focused on Avian still life. Rather than mimicking the natural setting, she places them in unexpected and wholly unnatural scenes which encourage us to look at them with a renewed perspective. Ranging from the baroque to the hilarious, each piece sheds its typical associations of commonality with her unique style.

View more of Polly’s work: Link

 

This lecture will examine the work of several photographers who use the form of the natural history museum diorama to comment on the connection (or lack of connection) between the human and natural world.

Diane Fox is a Lecturer in the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she teaches graphic design and photography. Fox received her MFA from The University of Tennessee and her BFA from Middle Tennessee State University. Her current body of photographic work, “UnNatural History,” is composed of images shot in various natural history museums in the US and Europe. Her solo exhibits have been exhibited in the Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA; Tower Fine Arts Gallery, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY; Gallery Stokes in Atlanta, GA; Santa Reparata Gallery, Florence Italy; Apex Gallery, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD; Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN; and Dom Muz Gallery, Torun, Poland among others. You can see some of her work at dianefoxphotography.com.