Patty Carroll: Anonymous Women
When I first encountered Patty Carroll’s project of draped women several years ago, I couldn’t have imagined how timely the publication of her new book, Anonymous Women, would be. Published by Daylight Books, this monograph speaks to the loss of self, the anonymity that comes with aging and motherhood, the desire for perfection and decoration, the constant bump against the glass ceiling, the oppression of women, and so much more. Many of the staged tableaus are humorous in their efforts to tell a story, but underneath all the pageantry and layers of fabric are issues that are profound and meaningful.
Patty Carroll for many years taught photography and was Adjunct Full Professor Photography at SAIC until 2014. As an Adobe Instructor in Photoshop, she does Photoshop training at Ascend Training, Chicago. Education includes BFA in Graphic Design, University of Illinois, and MS in Photography, Institute of Design, IIT. Grants/Prizes include 2003 Artist Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council, 2011 Art Takes Miami, Photography Category, 2014 Photolucida Critical Mass: Top 50.
One-person museum exhibits include: Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England, State of Illinois Gallery and Museum, Blue Star Art Space, San Antonio, TX, White Box Museum, Beijing, China, Northern Illinois University Art Museum, Chicago Cultural Center, Zheijang Museum of Art, Hangzhou, China. Authored/Photographed books: Spirited Visions, Culture is Everywhere, Living the Life: The World of Elvis Tribute Artists, Man Bites Dog: The Culture of Hot Dogs in America, and a monograph of Anonymous Women, to be published by Daylight Books, 2016. Artist Residences include Akiyoshidai Arts Village, Japan, Anderson Ranch, Colorado, Texas A&M University, Columbia College, Chicago, and currently at Studios Inc, Kansas City, MO. Work included in many public and private collections.
Anonymous Women: Reconstructed
In the Anonymous Women: Draped photographic series, the woman is hidden within the drapery, where she performs domestic trickery. The photographs are vignettes of women hidden behind drapes containing one figure and drapery, with an occasional prop or piece of furniture. In the ensuing series, Reconstructed, the woman becomes part of her domestic trappings and activities. I am creating narrative, full size, still-life images comprised of many objects. The space and stories are suspect, inviting hilarity and pathos about our relationship with “things.” The photographs act as commentary on obsession with collecting, accumulating designing and decorating. They are life size installations made in the studio for the camera that play with space and scale, and use household objects as subject matter. The woman (or mannequin) is camouflaged among her domestic objects in the substitute home space. The final outcome is a photograph and/or a short video.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago provided the basis of all of my work, and I continually seek to come to terms with it. I grew up when suburban life was idealized; the home was a place of perfection and harmony, free from harsh realities of the city, without crime, or messy interiors, where everyone’s drapes and sofa matched, where people were normal, without dark little secrets. It was at time when the “woman’s place was in the home.” I am photographically creating worlds that debunk, critique and satirize these myths of claustrophobic perfection.
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