Patty Carroll’s series Reconstructed, is about “our obsession with collecting, and our relationship with things.” But the series is part of a bigger project titled Anonymous Women where females are hidden and draped in fabrics and objects as a comment on traditional roles and the trappings of domesticity.
Playing with space, colour and scale, Patty’s studio installations are shot using a square frame adding to the oppressiveness as every inch of space is inhabited by a pattern or thing. Mannequins act as female silhouettes and are dressed to blend into the surrounding chaos. Their heads are lampshades, tea pots, toasters and other homely items creating bizarre yet intriguing scenes.
“I grew up when suburban life was idealised; the home was a place of perfection and harmony, free from the harsh realities of the city, where everyone’s drapes and sofa matched,” explains Patty. “It was also a time when a woman’s place was seen to be in the home. So I’m photographically creating worlds that debunk, critique and satirise these myths of claustrophobic perfection.”
The photographs are gloriously detailed with the colour palettes varying from image to image. Ice cream shades come together in a powdery cloud in one and a frenzy of crochet infiltrates another. This contrasting variety could seem overwhelming and unnecessary, but the use of familiar, domestic objects in all of the images ties them together and merely highlights our inherent need to hoard.
The more successful images are where it’s not clear whether it’s a mannequin or a real woman under the shroud of material, jewels and paraphernalia. The ambiguity adds yet another layer of camouflage to Patty’s work.