Main Gallery – September 13 – October 3, 2019
This is a personal project about merging woman and home, which has various iterations and has lasted over 20 years. The photographs are life-size installations made in the studio using the figure and household objects as subject matter.
In my ongoing photographic series, “Anonymous Women,” a lone woman is hidden in a draped vignette where she attempts to perform domestic trickery, particularly in the accompanying short videos. As the series continues, the woman becomes part of her excessive domestic trappings and activities, to comment about obsessive collecting, decorating, and our relationship with “things.” A mannequin substitutes for the woman, where camouflage and anonymity reaches its logical conclusion of extreme absurdity, as she perpetually disappears into the artifice and visual overload of colors and patterns in her environment. In the latest iterations of the narrative, “Domestic Demise,” the woman becomes the victim of her home to her fatal end; her objects take over, and the woman is crushed by her own possessions and obsessions. Her home has become a site of tragedy and danger, with scenes of heartbreaking mishaps and horror, inspired by many sources including the game of clue.
The humorous, yet poignant, narrative scenes that I create in the studio are about women who use their objects and décor to shore themselves up against a dark, scary world. Obsessing and perfecting home life with its objects, decoration, and activities fill a void of futility, and invents usefulness beyond caring for family or career.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago provided the basis of all of my work, and I continually seek to come to terms with the myth of perfection and illusion. I am photographically creating worlds that debunk, critique, and satirize the expectation of domestic perfection, a claustrophobic experience.
My influences come from many sources; colorful movies from the 1950’s and 60’s, traditional still-life paintings, decorating magazines, the game of clue, nuns in habits, victorian writing, etc. My intention with the work is to bring attention to the identity of unseen heroic women who silently run a home, family, and often careers. In this work, the figure symbolizes so many women, no matter what culture or background, however, it has its roots in our traditions of consumer culture and the meaning of “things.”
The series, Anonymous Women, has been shown internationally since 2010 and resulted in a book of the same title, published by Daylight Books in 2017. It is particularly popular with women, who can relate to imagery and narratives in the photographs.
With the support of the City of Miami Beach Office of Cultural Affairs and the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners.
For more information about Patty Carroll, click here.