In Patty Carroll’s ongoing photographic series, Anonymous Women, each densely patterned image focuses on a lone woman that is practically invisible. Each is merged, concealed, overwhelmed, and seemingly taken over by her excessive household trappings, careening toward the absurd. Her domestic demise looms large as she is inevitably done in by her own possessions and obsessions. Her home becomes the site of claustrophobic perfectionism leading to tragedy and danger, with scenes of mishap and horror, inspired by many sources including the game of Clue.
To create these darkly humorous and poignant narratives, Carroll builds life size installations, literally stage sets, in her studio using the figure and household objects as subject matter. Worlds are created and the women in them use their objects and decor as armor to shore themselves up against a dark and scary world.
Carroll credits, or blames, growing up in the suburbs of Chicago as the source for her work. In Domestic Dramas and Disasters, she continues her exploration of myths of perfection and happiness, consumer culture, social status and meaning. Her photographs debunk, critique, and satirize the expectation of domestic perfection and fulfillment. Their truthfulness not only hurts, its’ absurdity makes us laugh.
The photographs of Patty Carroll are held in the permanent collections of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and numerous others.