Patty Carroll has been known for her use of highly intense, saturated color photographs since the 1970’s. Her recent project, “Anonymous Women,” consists of a 4-part series of studio installations made for the camera, addressing women and their complicated relationships with domesticity. By camouflaging the figure in drapery and/or domestic objects, Carroll creates a dark and humorous game of hide-and-seek between her viewers and the Anonymous Woman. The photographs are exhibited in large scale were published as a monograph in 2017 by Daylight Books. This series has been exhibited internationally, has won multiple awards, and acknowledged as one of Photolucida’s “Top 50” in 2104 and in 2017. Carroll’s work has been featured in prestigious blogs and international magazines such as the Huffington Post, the BJP in Britain, and NYT LensBlog. After teaching photography for many years, Carroll has enthusiastically returned to the studio to delight viewers with her playful critique of home and excess. Grants/Prizes include 2003 Artist Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council, 2011 Art Takes Miami, Photography Category, 2014 & 2017 Photolucida Critical Mass: “Top 50.”
Selected one-person museum exhibits include: Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England, The 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, The Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa, FL and the Zheijhang Museum of Art, Hangzhou, China.
Artist Residences include: Akiyoshidai Arts Village, Japan, Anderson Ranch, Colorado, Texas A&M University, Columbia College, Chicago, and at Studios Inc. in Kansas City, MO.
Work included in many public and private collections, including: The Art Institute of Chicago, MOMA, MOCP, MCA, The Sandor Photography Collection, The Kansas City Collection, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Ruttenberg Foundation among others.
And exclusive Q&A with Patty Carroll
- How do you briefly describe your artistic work to the casual inquirer? I love how you talk about the concept of womanhood at the core.
This is a personal project about merging woman and home. I make scenes to photographof a lone woman surrounded or overcome by her domestic objects. I grew up in suburbia when women were expected to be perfect housewives, with 2.5 children and have matching drapes wallpaper and sofa. I am trying debunk and satirize expectations of perfection that we continue to have!
- What is your primary medium(s), and medium(s) for the work being highlighted?
Photography. I set up scenes to photograph. Sometimes the photographs are also exhibited with an installation of the objects or drapery in them.
- As an artist, what do you value or enjoy most about your creative process?
Not sure how to answer this. My creative process is all the time and everywhere. When I am working on a picture, it seems to take over. My process is very fluid, but I work everyday. I think waiting for inspiration is a bad idea. I just go to work the same way someone who has an office job. My studio is my office and when I get there, work is waiting to be done. What I value now is the ability to go into my studio after years of teaching and giving so many others my time. Now it is more fun to play in my studio, which is a place to make magic. It is a life size dollhouse with stories to be told.
- What does art mean to you? Everything.
- Where do you find your inspiration to create?
From a huge variety of sources; from home activities, from old movies, from the game of clue, from mysteries, from vintage ads, from the nuns that taught me in school, from the suburbs where I grew up, from remembering my mother, from great fabrics, from window displays, from many other artists etc.
- What do you hope your audience gains from your art?
I hope that women in particular, will both enjoy the humor and the pathos in the pictures. I have always been able to laugh at myself and I hope that it extends to all of us women who have complicated lives and homes. Mostly I want people to appreciate how important women are in making a home a place you want to go to.
- How do you set yourself apart from other artists?
Everyone is different, and we are all mad in our own way. So I think my form of craziness has been cultivated since a child and is now manifesting itself in these pictures.
- What artists are you inspired by?
So many! The surrealists, particularly DeChirico and of course, Magritte. Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Hannah Hoch, the Chicago Imagists particularly Roger Brown and Ed Paschke, the painter Phyllis Bramson, and how about Kusama!
- What compelled you to pursue a partnership with SeeMe?
The call was for work about Women for Women’s History Month. My work is all about that, so it seemed a natural time to participate.
- What do you value most about your partnership with SeeMe? It has just begun, so I am hoping it will allow other curators and collectors to be aware of my work.