Anonymous Women: Demise by Patty Carroll

Patty Carroll has been known for her use of highly intense, saturated color photographs since the 1970’s.

In the photographic series, “Anonymous Women: Draped,” a lone woman is hidden in a draped vignette with an occasional domestic prop or piece of furniture, where she performs domestic trickery. In the ensuing series, “Anonymous Women: Reconstructed,” the woman becomes part of her excessive domestic trappings and activities. “Reconstructed” is commentary on obsession with collecting, designing, and decorating, inviting hilarity and pathos in our relationship with “things.” The photographs are life-size installations made in the studio using household objects as subject matter. 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. Finding the anonymous woman in the chaos becomes an interactive scavenger hunt.  

In the latest narratives, “Demise,” the woman becomes the victim of her home to her downfall. Her activities, obsessions and objects are overwhelming her. Her home has become a site of tragedy. The scenes of her heartbreaking end are inspired by several sources including the game of clue, where murder occurs in one of five rooms of the house: Dining Room, Kitchen, Hall, Conservatory, and Library.  

The scenes and narratives 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, fills a void of futility, and creates 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 claustrophobic perfection of expectation.

All photos by Patty Carroll