Abigail Goldman's Head Turning 'Dieoramas'

Hashimoto Contemporary
Jan 7, 2020 4:38PM

The artists latest solo exhibition, Rubbernecker, delves into the human psyche through the use of humor, wit and miniaturized murder.

Abigail Goldman at Hashimoto Contemporary

Upon entering Abigail Goldman’s miniaturized world, she commands the viewers rapt attention. Inhabited by figures less than one inch tall, the artist portrays seemingly ordinary scenes from daily life - city blocks, suburban homes, lush parks with blue cloudless skies overhead. At first glance, the viewer is immediately enchanted by these scenes, which draw you in for a deeper look, after which you are confronted with a grim reality.

Abigail Goldman’s latest solo exhibition opened at Hashimoto Contemporary NYC on December 14th. Comprised of 42 new works from the artists ongoing “dieorama” series, from 4.5 in. bubbles to an entire 2 1/2 ft. miniature suburban block, the artist utilizes scale to disarm the viewer and tell stories with incredible levels of fantastical detail in 1:87 scale. The pieces are displayed in vitrines and bubbles, reminiscent of snow globes. These microcosms serve to contain the chaos into their own private domains, presenting an alternate universe that is similar to our own yet reveals a dark underbelly.

Installation view. Hashimoto Contemporary

The exhibition is aptly titled, Rubbernecker, an appropriate title as each piece asks the viewer to slow down and take a deeper look. Beyond the physical act of rubbernecking, there is a morbid sense of curiosity associated with the act that also takes place when experiencing the artists work. Much like when encountering an accident scene while driving in a vehicle, there are similar physical reactions to Goldman’s work. The viewer pauses, leans in, stares, steps back upon realizing what is before them, turns and goes back in for more.

The largest piece from the exhibition, titled Welcome to the Neighborhood, depicts an average suburban block, with ranch style homes and lush green grass and trees. Tiny residents are seen hanging laundry and mowing lawns outside. Cut into the front of the piece is a cavern, showing the debauchery that is happening literally below the surface. Ladders connect each home to the horrifying den below, where people are being tortured and hatcheted to pieces.

Abigail Goldman, Welcome to the Neighborhood - detail, 2019. Hashimoto Contemporary

Abigail Goldman, Welcome to the Neighborhood - detail, 2019. Hashimoto Contemporary

Metal vats over fire are strewn throughout and filled with minuscule limbs, blood pouring over the edges. A ‘Stepford Wives' nightmare, with the entire community in on the madness. Glimmers of dark humor are sprinkled throughout, with a small child clutching her teddy bear, looking on at the figures impaled on spikes. A couple lovingly holding each other, leaning in for a kiss amidst the horror.

Somehow, we are charmed by this small-scaled universe, which makes one beg the question - what can we stomach if we first paint a pretty picture?

Installation view. Hashimoto Contemporary

In general, human beings have an aversion to violence. By changing the physical scale upon which we are receiving it, the artist affects the way we react to and receive this visual information we are being confronted with. Is it an animal impulse that draws us to Goldman’s work? Or perhaps by confronting these scenes of all out debauchery, it is a means of confronting our own mortality? Maybe we just have a wicked sense of humor, fascinated by the juxtaposition between the polite world and what is actually happening below the surface.

Abigail Goldman's Rubbernecker is on view at Hashimoto Contemporary in New York City through January 4th, 2020.

Installation images courtesy of Lanee Bird.

Discover more artists at Hashimoto Contemporary.

Hashimoto Contemporary