Joianne Bittle, apart from being a dear friend and wife to my dear cousin Nicholas Knight, is a fantastic New York City-based artist. She's an accomplished painter and for the past several years has constructed dioramas for the American Museum of Natural History. Recently, she took her diorama skills to the gallery, where she constructed "Portable Landscape: Preserving Mass Extinction."
In Preserving Mass Extinction, Joi reconstructed Texas' Permian Basin as it might have been 250-290 million years ago. This project required significant research and bringing together her skills as a diorama artist, where she's mastered her skills as a translator of scientific knowledge to the rest of us. She casted molds of the plants, animals, and earth formations that might have been found in this area, which was, at the time, covered in a shallow sea. She painted the figures and assembled the entire diorama in the back of a UHAUL trailer. You can see the whole thing at Eugene Binder Gallery in Marfa, TX through March 31, 2011.
Here's Joi with Portable Landscape.
Photos courtesy of Joianne Bittle