“Die-o-ramas” by Criminal Defense Investigator Abigail Goldman

Bellingham, Washington-based artist and criminal defense investigator Abigail Goldman is known for her innovative “dieoramas”. These are miniature crime scenes that initially appear charming. But when the viewer looks at them closely, they realise that the diminutive figures within each piece are holding weapons, lying in pools of blood or standing in a kitchen, serving body parts for breakfast. What first seems to be a generic suburban family setting unfolds into a macabre tableau where miniature mayhem reigns.

According to Beinart Gallery in Melbourne—which recently organised Goldman’s solo exhibition “Small Improvements”: “Dieoramas are an effort to capture and contain rage, to disarm with the contrast of awful and adorable, and to invite the viewer to assess their own attraction to misery and mayhem. In this way, dieoramas become both cathartic totems and miniature monuments to the id. Goldman finds that for every one person repelled by her dieoramas, there are three who delight in them. The vast majority of us, she believes, are fundamentally dark, and driven ever darker by our modern condition.”

Here Kitty Kitty © Abigail Goldman

The dieoramas in “Small Improvements” are part of Goldman’s ongoing exploration of violence and our deepest selves, which are more depraved than we admit. The pull of violence is everywhere—in breathless TV news coverage of crime, in the movies and shows we consume, and in our primal selves, which are revealed in fleeting moments of daily rage: at the car that cuts us off on the highway, the boss that passes us over for promotion. Increasingly, we are angry and divided. Increasingly, we are unmoved by violence, which has become commonplace and predictable.”

What makes the artworks noteworthy is the self-reflection they encourage. Their openness—lack of a definite conclusion—allows the viewer to arrive at their own personal answer with regard to the phenomenon of aggression.

Goldman is the subject of an award-winning short documentary, Dieorama, made for Topic Magazine. Her work has been featured by NPR, Juxtapoz, Atlas Obscura, the New York Times, LA Times, Hi-Fructose and others. She spent a decade in Las Vegas, working as a newspaper reporter and volunteering as a Clark County Coroner reserve investigator. She still works as an investigator today, for the Federal Public Defender. 

Links: Website (www.abigailgoldman.com) | Instagram (www.instagram.com/tinylittlelives)

A Room of Her Own © Abigail Goldman
Dinner to Thaw © Abigail Goldman
Farmer’s Market © Abigail Goldman
Less Laundry © Abigail Goldman
Our National Pastime © Abigail Goldman
Outlaw Women © Abigail Goldman
Over for Brunch © Abigail Goldman
Paradise © Abigail Goldman
Shouldn’t Have Waited So Long © Abigail Goldman
Split Checks © Abigail Goldman
The Demotion © Abigail Goldman
What Side of the Gun Are You On? © Abigail Goldman