» Visual Art

Broken Models

Rachel Poliquin, in her 2012 book The Breathless Zoo, writes that “Taxidermy is deeply marked by human longing,” revealing our hopes and dreams about our place in the natural world. Natural history dioramas present a carefully constructed, perfectly encapsulated and controlled experience of nature, revealing as much about humanity as the nature depicted. In Broken Models,  Steensma Hoag negotiates access to dioramas in various stages of being decommissioned and uses these fictional spaces to create imaginary scenes. By introducing a worker wearing a white Hazmat suit, which evokes images of advanced technology labs in which the environment needs to be protected from the worker, the series suggests a scientific method of understanding and quantifying our experience of nature and comments on our failed construction of the environment as an inexhaustible resource.


Jennifer Steensma Hoag


Jennifer Steensma Hoag is a conceptual artist who works primarily in photography and video. Steensma Hoag received an MFA in Imaging Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology and has lectured on photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, the Dryden Theater at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, and the New York Public Library, and her award-winning work has been published by Drain – Journal of Contemporary Art & Culture. She is a professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she has taught for over twenty years.