Like many artists during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to materials was difficult. I felt uncomfortable, (especially as a first-time mother with an infant) going out anywhere, and I knew I had to create a new series that allowed more flexibility. After browsing the Facebook Marketplace, I noticed an incredible amount of dollhouses that people were selling or giving away in the Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan area. As I started to contact people about a purchase or pick up of these non-wanted gems, I became fascinated by how much history these houses had and the stories that came with them. Most of the people selling or giving them away had them stored in basements, garages, and attics for many years but couldn't bare to throw them out. In the last several years, all of the rooms in my images have been constructed and custom-built for each photograph. In this series, On the Inside, the dollhouses that I used, function as 'readymades' and I responded to the history and artifacts that already existed within these spaces- much like the places we inhabit.
By being given these prebuilt houses and rooms such as the attic, bathroom, bedroom, living room, etc, I used the props that I had as a collaboration with the space to create new meaning. I chose not to tear down wallpaper or change paint colors or flooring in the houses but rather respond to the age, colors and traces left behind in the space to fuel the ideas for what the lighting, props, and photographic compositions would be. The interior/exterior narratives created in some of the photographs were in response to the pandemic and how so much of our exterior lives came into the living spaces of those fortunate enough to have a place to live.
For me, the dollhouses represented the past and present simultaneously, and mirrored the experience of being confined within the walls of my own historic home in which I am always learning more about. I like to think of these works as interventions, that otherwise would not have existed without the foundational decision-making of the original architects and designers.
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