Patty Carroll: Anonymous Women

Friday, Mar 3, 2017 5 – 7:30 pm

Chicago, IL

Exhibition on view March 3-April 29, 2017

"For most of history, Anonymous was a woman."

The words of Virginia Wolf perfectly complete the monograph Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll, released by Daylight books in 2016. We are proud to host an exhibition of Carroll's work and celebrate her publication with a reception and book signing on Friday, March 3rd.

Patty Carroll's works are playful and fun, curious yet direct. In a year when many women felt they would collectively if not vicariously break through another glass ceiling, Carroll's works are especially poignant. Through often super-saturated, highly-activated frames Carroll conceals a feminine figure that blends naturally into her surroundings. The domestic space of these figures reveals more about them than they do of themselves. Always faceless, covered, even overrun by her surroundings, Carroll's women are not without personality.  Identity is created through environment. It is from the surroundings that we infer personality, taste, interests, and character. Carroll has made several approaches through time to achieve variations on the same effect- to underline the historic role of women; she has draped the figure in fabrics, confused them with household objects, and shown them as mannequin-like without heads operating almost robotically in lavish spaces. 

The true profundity of the work lies in our engagement with it. An immediate read of the work reveals the female as a secondary sex.  Carroll's women reveal and undermine this initial perception-the women are objects like any other in the space, she is a purely aesthetic or decorative element, and yet prolonged viewing exposes a range of other visual aesthetics, commercial, fashion, and religious among them.  The outcome is both sharp and convoluted. Traditional roles never confined an extraordinary woman. Any enduring cultural limitations are something to fight against.    

About the Artist: Patty Carroll is active as an artist, educator, and writer. She earned her Master of Science (MS) in Photography from the Institute of Design at IIT, Chicago, and her BFA from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in Graphic Design. Carroll has exhibited nationally and internationally, and has held various teaching positions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Columbia College in Chicago; The Institute of Design at IIT; the Royal College of Art in London; and beyond. She is the photographic author of 5 books, and recently released a monograph of her own work with Daylight Books.