Anonymous Women: Domestic Demise

Patty Carroll

2017 - Ongoing

We live in a time of excessive consumption and societal turmoil. Addressing these issues on a smaller, domestic scale can be symbolically poignant, humorous and bleak. While we have been confined to our homes during the pandemic lockdown, interiors have taken on new uses and meaning. Home used to be separate from work. Going out for dinner is a thing of the past, so cooking has become both a burden and a joy. The utensils, tools, decorative and useful objects that we once took for granted are now used more often with purpose or as hilarious props in selfies.

My work involves creating tableaus for the camera, primarily in the series titled, Anonymous Women: Domestic Demise, which features a female figure camouflaged in an abundance of domestic possessions. I have always been interested in a line between reality and fiction, which is a difficult space for photography. As such, although I previously photographed places that looked like they might be sets in a dark movie, this work is the fictional narrative of a single woman in her imaginary home where she is confined yet overwhelmed by the world outside.

My influences come from many sources; colorful vintage movies, traditional still-life paintings, decorating magazines, a suburban upbringing, the game of clue, Victorian writing, etc. My intention with the work is to bring attention to unseen heroic women who silently run a home, family, and often careers. The figure symbolizes so many women, no matter what culture or background, with roots in consumer culture and how possessions provide continuity and tradition. While humor is prevalent in these narratives, the message behind them has darker implications about the role of women in all societies.

The lone figure represents so many people who feel isolated, exhausted, frustrated and generally at wit’s end during these difficult times. Using the home as the locus of her shattered world remains the best vehicle for me to describe these situations. It is also the place to which most people can relate.

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  • News to hard to bear.

  • Feeling the world on her shoulders.

  • Screened and scream.

  • Seeing red everywhere.

  • Exhausted after pride party.

  • Crawling home like her panthers.

  • Mad Mauve.

  • The blues

  • Scrapbooking

  • Canned

  • Staired down.

  • Failing to keep all of her balls in the air at once

  • Cooking the Goose

  • Dished

  • Striped Books

  • A shadow of her former self.

  • Gun and Roses

  • Picknic panic in the back yard.

  • Wallpapered

  • Flying Food