In the works of Thomas Doyle, at close range, the most attentive observer discovers that seemingly serene and controlled micro-worlds are actually dramatic realities that express the precariousness of the human condition using the symbols of middle-class life such as the home, yard and family.
A central theme within the works of Thomas Doyle is the classic, quaint single-family American home. The artist creates perfectly scaled-down dioramas sealed inside glass globes, which underline the contrast between an idyllic vision of suburban life and a fascination for imagery of both fantasy and horror.
Doyle hurls everything the natural world, and even the supernatural world, might offer in terms of an apocalypse into his encapsulated spheres. Houses teeter on cliffs, are swept up by tornadoes and suffer the after-effects of mysterious explosions in which the domestic contents of the houses are blown apart. While fantastic in theme and aesthetic, Doyle’s dioramas allude to real contemporary fears. Much like the dizzying sense one feels when looking down the edge of a cliff is the fear of losing everything you have built up in your life and the constant anxiety that another tragedy is right around the corner.
Along with the theme of the home, Doyle also toys with the notion of context. The fascination for creating miniature worlds, totally enclosed and controllable, have been innately appealing to many cultures. From Fabergé eggs to aquariums and terrariums and as seen through the popularity of snow domes, one of the chief pleasures they provide is the chance for a 360-degree view into a little world that places the viewer in the position of a looming god.
Through the disturbing and contradictory atmospheres of his dioramas, Doyle shows us how small and precarious each of our lives really is, however charming and fantastical the package may be. His works serve as a metaphor not just for the current economic crisis in the American real estate market, but more profoundly they become a sort of existential allegory that reflect the illusion of safety and a perceived sense of control from within. Parallel to these constructed worlds is reality itself, where through our false sense of security we fail to realize that at the deepest level, our own reality is in fact wholly uncertain and completely uncontrollable. The confined human figures inside these works express a static and frozen sense of time, enclosed within spaces from which they cannot escape. The viewers on the other hand are left on the periphery, which allows one to stare at a scene that can be controlled through the gaze, but makes it impossible to really understand the mysteries and tragedies hidden within.
Thomas Doyle (1976, Grand Haven, MI; lives and works in New York) mostly works with sculpture, realizing under-sealed environments, meticulous and highly detailed miniatures “under glass” that capture disturbing and transformative moments in human life. He studied at the Humboldt State University and he has received prestigious acknowledgments like the West Prize Aquisition Finalist, West Collection in 2008 and the Mac Dowell Colony Fellowship in 2009. Recent exhibitions include: (2010) There’s No Place Like Here, Tower Fine Arts Gallery, Brockport, NY; Tragic Sense of Life, Fine Arts Gallery, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s Radius exhibition, Ridgefield, CT; Synesthesia 2010, Electric Pear Productions – The Wild Project, New York; Collateral Damage, LeBasse Projects, Culver City, CA; (2011) Suggestivism, Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA; Mini-Size Me, Bakerfield Museum of Art, Bakerfield, CA; Otherworldly: Optical Selusion and Small Realites, Museum of Arts and Design, New York.
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