Tracey Snelling creates incredibly-detailed miniatures of strip malls, motels, roadside attractions, and other moments from the built environment. A retrospective of her dioramas, photos, and video projections is currently only display at San Francisco's Rena Bransten Gallery. Kirsten Incorvaia interviewed Snelling for Hi-Fructose:
How does the collective consciousness feed into these worlds- are the scenes from our memories, our imaginations, our dreams?
I find that the collective conscious often feeds into the interpretation of my work. For the majority of the viewers, there is an idea and memory of a liquor store or a strip club. For instance, a liquor store sculpture can remind someone who grew up in Kentucky of the liquor store down the street, while it reminds another person of a liquor store in Bakersfield. The further away the "location" of the sculpture from the location and culture of where the work is exhibited, the more possibility there is that the viewer thinks of the generic idea of a place, the representations of that place they have seen in film, and their imagination of that place…
In your current show, one can pick out several different cultures represented in your work. How does the subject matter and aesthetic representation change as one walks through the different "countries"?
When deciding on how to lay out the exhibit, it seemed that setting up areas based on some kind of geographic location would work best. The show starts in Hollywood/LA/edge of town and moves into border town. From there it turns into the southwest, with a motel motif offshoot. One then enters the life-size Southwestern trading post, which turns into a Chinese gift shop. Upon leaving the store, the viewer is in China.
"An Interview with Tracey Snelling" (Hi-Fructose)
Tracey Snelling: Tour of Exhibition (Rena Bransten Gallery)