If you are in the Chicago area, be sure to stop by Schneider Gallery to see Patty Carroll's new exhibition "Anonymous Women." The show will be on view from March 3rd - April 29th and the gallery will be hosting a reception and book signing for the artist on Friday, March 3rd from 5:00 pm-7:30 pm.
“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. The artist'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.
Images © Patty Carroll | Courtesy of Schneider Gallery
Titles from top to bottom:
Header image- lily
Image 1- Domestic Bliss
Image 2- Booky
Image 3- smother