Sculptural Stories: Delightfully Disturbing Miniature Worlds

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Thomas Doyle has been fascinated with miniature worlds since a young age, enthralled by museum displays, glass cases and clearly influenced by the loaded symbolism of the classic snow globe. Each scene, frozen in time, captures a highly charged moment – the power of which is enhanced by the god-like perspective given to us as much larger observers looking in.

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Three series make up the sets of images seen here, roughly in order and intermixed with the text. In his own words, “The Distillation series deals primarily with childhood and the domestic setting the moments in a persons past that define who they are today. The Reclamations series deals with the idea of romantic love through separation and unity, while the Bearings series centers around a man in red who is always alone, trying to find his way. Though isolation, trepidation, and other themes are found across my body of work, I find a clear distinction between the three series.”

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There is a way in which his artistically-rendered worlds are realistic, featuring humans and elements of everyday life, but abstract obstacles and surreal challenges face the tiny protagonists in his curiously twisted visual stories. The observer treads a strange line between omnipresent viewer and intimate voyeur – as one leans in for a closer look, the tiny expressions, gestures and physical relationships of the figures observed are somehow enhanced by their small scale.

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The art of Thomas Doyle has been interpreted as bizarre, moving and chilling and compared to Edward Gorey – it is also perhaps comparable conceptually to the work of Tim Burton. In his tiny worlds, metaphysical barriers become real ones and, as in one of Burton’s most famous movies, there seems some risk of falling into the miniature situations depicted in his artwork.

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