Three of my dioramas are in the Artist Books Exhibit at Illahe Studios and Gallery in Ashland, OR through April 2011. My primary intention in creating these dioramas was to investigate aspects of myself by literally making myself a player on the stage of the world — in this case, a solo actor delivering a soliloquy. Each “page” is a self-portrait that transcends the personal story through its archetypal imagery. While working in any art form, an artist reveals oneself to first to oneself, before the product is seen by anyone else. My dioramas are perhaps my most personal and self-revelatory pieces, and I am happy that they are now being seen by others.
These stage-like pages or dioramas were conceived in 1979 when my friend, Debra Heimerdinger, asked me to be one of the models in her book Self Exposures: A Workbook in Photographic Self-Portraiture. For each diorama, I photographed myself wearing clothes that had a particular emotional charge for me, that were a "costume" worn at a particular period of time or for a particular role that I saw myself playing in my life. I placed this costumed "me" onto a stage whose scenery I painted and scribbled over with writings from my diaries and various quotations by others, adding photographs and Xeroxes as well.
My dioramas remained unfinished in a portfolio for over 30 years. In 2010, I re-discovered the fragmentary pieces and completed the pages. I made fabric hinges to hold them together without damaging the paper, added a miniature 3-D book to Academia and lace and a swan feather to Swan. Using the relatively new technology of black foamcore, I fabricated the sturdy, lightweight boxes held together with paper piano hinges and within which the scenes/dioramas are to be viewed. Thanks to the recent technology of white LEDs, the stages are now lit with a string of very tiny bright lights. Let the show begin!