I visited the "Feel Big, Live Small" Miniatures Art Exhibit. It was such fun to see all the art pieces. You can see all of them here.
I recommend checking it out online and especially reading the brochure article by Rachel Nuwer discussing some of the history of miniature collecting - available at this "Feel Big, Live Small" brochure link: http://apexart.org/images/smithee/smithee.pdfrg/images/smithee/smithee.pdf.
She quotes Matthew Albanese as stating: "[miniatures] give me the ultimate ability to control my environment while satisfying a need to simply work with my hands," says artist Matthew Albanese. "It always seemed to me that the miniature was the most effective solution to experiencing visions of the world and new perspectives that otherwise could not be achieved in life." (Although to be honest, my miniature collection is getting out of control and so my real-life environment is out of control as I search for places to store my miniatures in my apartment.)
And I also like the her quote from artist Joe Fig: "Miniatures evoke a feeling of wonder or awe. . . They suspend reality, taking you out of your surroundings and bringing you into a new world." Or, also for me, creating a lasting emotional memory of your current world.
And I also found fascinating Rachel Nuwer's discussion of Frances Glessner Lee: "Frances Glessner Lee, popularly known as "the mother of forensic investigation" . . . created 20 dollhouse crime scenes in the 1940's and 50s, which she called the nutshell studies of unexplained death. At that time, crime scene investigation was a sloppy affair, with evidence oftentimes overlooked or tampered with before it could be collected. Lee -- who came from a wealthy family but was denied a college education because of her gender - co-opted the traditionally female art of dollhouse-making into a darker but more purposeful pursuit, building perfect freeze-frame replicas of real-life crime scenes . . . for training purposes.. . . Lee's nutshells are still used for training crime scene investigators today." So interesting.
I especially loved Joe Fig's "Self Portrait: Collinsville" which was a wonderfully detailed art studio:
And I liked Alice Bartlett's "Nail Art" with the 1/144 people (or railroad set people) - very fun!
The office scene in a briefcase was quite realistic and cleverly done.
And I found this one thought-provoking - with soldiers on top and children playing on the other side (of the world?) - especially in these times when there seems to be so many wars and suffering around the world.
The motel street scene ( a piece entitled "Bad Girl" by Tracey Snelling) also was well done and evocative - with the neon lights flashing and the telephone or cable wires hanging between the buildings across the streets. I didn't take a photo, but here is a link to an article about her artwork (which includes a picture) and of course there is a picture in the link up top.
Anyway, it was lots of fun to see a miniatures art exhibit! I was having a bit of withdrawal after the Chicago show.