Diane Fox

Diane Fox is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she has taught photography and graphic design courses since 1998. Fox received her MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and her BFA from Middle Tennessee State University. Fox’s current body of photographic work, Unnatural History, is composed of images shot in various natural history museums and taxidermy shops in the US and Europe. Using reflection and the inclusion of elements meant to remain unseen, the work examines the edges between the real and imagined, nature and artifice, and reflects on the disconnection of the human/animal relationship.

Wrapped, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2006Wrapped, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2006

Manatee, Naturhistorisches Museum Wein, Vienna, Austria 2008Manatee, Naturhistorisches Museum Wein, Vienna, Austria 2008

Unnatural History

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.

Zebra, Naturhistorisches Museum Wein, Vienna, Austria 2008Zebra, Naturhistorisches Museum Wein, Vienna, Austria 2008

_Animals Reflecting, California Academy of Sciences, San FrancisAnimals Reflecting, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California 2010

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 breath 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, the work points 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.

Bear, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York 201Bear, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York 2010

Penguins’ Eggs, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge,Penguins’ Eggs, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2011

Giraffe Drinking, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, WashingGiraffe Drinking, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC 2011

Barry, Naturhistorisches Museum Bern, Switzerland 2012Barry, Naturhistorisches Museum Bern, Switzerland 2012

Tiger and Flowers, Natural History Museum, London, England 2009Tiger and Flowers, Natural History Museum, London, England 2009

Poached, Naturhistorisches Museum, Bern, Switzerland 2012Poached, Naturhistorisches Museum, Bern, Switzerland 2012

Birds, Museo di Storia Naturale, Florence, Italy 2011Birds, Museo di Storia Naturale, Florence, Italy 2011

Mass Grave Permian Period, Morrill Hall, Lincoln Nebraska 2011Mass Grave Permian Period, Morrill Hall, Lincoln Nebraska 2011

Exit, Morrill Hall, Lincoln Nebraska 2011Exit, Morrill Hall, Lincoln Nebraska 2011

Dogwoods, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PennsyDogwoods, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2013

Escape, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PennsylvEscape, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2013

To view more of Diane’s work please visit her website.

 



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