About the Photographer
Alison Carey constructs otherworldly scenes, taking inspiration from scientific methods of data collection, historical scientific imagery, and science fiction. She is interested in the role photography has played in the evolution of scientific knowledge to reveal environments never before seen, from the interior of the human body to the outer reaches of the solar system. Accordingly, Carey re-imagines long-vanished primordial landscapes or landscapes not yet discovered. Informed by scientific data, she constructs models of these landscapes and captures them with a view camera and nineteenth century methods of photography, acknowledging both the history and documentary capacity of the medium.
Ruins of Selene (2006), in the Ghost Craters series, shows a melancholic and deserted landscape reminiscent less of the moon itself than nineteenth century renderings of the moon, in which an observer would draw the moon as seen through a telescope, render the drawing as a plaster model, and photograph the model. Carey’s Ghost Craters images are uncannily similar to these images in both method and aesthetic, if more fantastical.
For the series Organic Remains of a Former World, of which Crinoids, Mississippian Period, 310-350 Mya (2005) forms part, Carey built intricate dioramas that recreate scenes from each of the seven periods of the earth’s Paleozoic Era. She sculpted the clay flora and fauna in each picture using illustrations from fossil guides, and then set up miniature worlds based on scientific evidence of what the past may have looked like. Printed as contemporary ambrotypes with liquid emulsion on black glass, these forms appear simultaneously alive and quietly preserved as fossilized remains.
Alison Carey completed a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York (1988); an MS in Art from Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT (2001); and an MFA from the University of New Mexico (2005). Carey has exhibited nationally and is the recipient of several awards, including a Roswell Artist-in-Residence Fellowship (2005-2006). Her work is held in the collections of the University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; and the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell, NM.
Gallery talk at the MoCP: http://vimeo.com/29279618