Diane Fox is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she teaches photography and graphic design courses.
Solo exhibitions of Fox’s photographic body of work, “UnNatural History,” have been shown nationally and internationally including at the Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA; Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL; Greyfriars Art Space in Norfolk, England; Sarratt Gallery, Nashville, TN; Dom Muz Gallery, Torun, Poland; and Santa Reparata Gallery, Florence, Italy. Selected pieces have been exhibited in numerous juried shows including the Los Angeles Center for Digital Photography, Los Angeles, CA; the Camera Club of New York, New York, NY; and Prix de la Photographie in Paris, France. Images from “UnNatural History” are cited in Giovanni Aloi’s book Art and Animals and Taxidermy by Alexis Turner published by Thymes and Hudson.
I am interested in the ways we objectify nature, both positively and negatively. The dancing, happy pigs used as icons for BBQ joints and meatpacking plants have always struck me as deeply ironic. Plastic animals take us for rides in theme parks and animated versions sell us products. Nature comes to us, viewed through glass windows at the zoo, natural history museum or framed on television. Likewise, the photograph objectifies the world as seen through the lens of the camera.
We visit natural history museums for a glimpse of our natural world, a world we often do not experience first-hand. We view animals from far off places and times at a safe distance. Dioramas (and photographs) create a framed moment of nature frozen in time. The more closely they resemble an actual space and event, the more closely the taxidermied animals appear to breathe life, the deeper our sense of wonder and connection.
UnNatural HIstory is a collection of photographs shot in natural history museums in the US and abroad. Using reflection and the inclusion of items within the diorama's case meant to remain unseen, I seek to point to its unreality and the disconnection within the human/animal relationship.
It is this dichotomy between the real and the unreal, the version of life portrayed and the actuality of death, the inherent beauty of the animals within their fabricated environment and the understanding of its invention, which finds me both attracted and repelled.