Press/News

Patty Carroll- Draped: Anonymous Women in The Eye of Photography

by Myrtle Beauvert February 6, 2017

Empress, 30" x 40”

Empress, 30″ x 40”

What drove you to start this project?

The Anonymous Women project began while living in England, where my identity was determined by my domestic position. I found that in a more traditional culture than the United States, one’s domestic status often eclipses one’s professional or personal sense of self. Making photographs of vulnerable, stark heads hiding behind various domestic objects were my initial response to this predicament.

Returning home to live in the USA, while re-making a home and identity, home furnishings came to represent personal conflicted realms of laughter and sadness. Home-making, whether through physical renovation or by an internal sense of comfort, remains a constant, universal subject for many women. Whether external threats to safety and security are real or not, the home remains a place of peace. “Staying home” can be also a response for many women when life seems too overwhelming. The drapery pictures are about becoming the dwelling itself. I am addressing the sharp edges of domesticity: the home as a place of comfort, or a place where decoration becomes an obsession, where the woman is camouflaged by her domestic interior rendering her invisible. Comfort and safety are values that have grown in importance in our society, with claustrophobic or therapeutic consequences!

The drapery work was made when the war with Iraq was building. Issues of vulnerability, trust, safety, courage and absurdity weighed heavily on my mind then, and continue to linger daily. I think about the women who encounter real wars, internal conflicts, domestic abuse, and other threats – real or imagined. I also laugh at myself and other women, when we lose perspective and become possessed by our material goods.

In all cases, women need “A room of their own.” The images reference draped statues from the Renaissance, nuns in habits, women wearing the burka, the Virgin Mary, priests’ robes, ancient Greek and Roman dress, as well as judges’ robes.

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