© Patty Carroll, Untitled, from the series Anonymous Women

© Patty Carroll, Untitled, from the series Anonymous Women

© Patty Carroll, Untitled, from the series Anonymous Women

“Anonymous Women” is a series of “Un-portraits” as Carroll calls them, of women draped – entirely covered – in various fabrics, with minimum props. Lush fabrics, an unlimited color palette and an at times subtle to overt sense of humor infuses the work with a fresh, lingering impact on the viewer. Even though viewers “gaze” at these portraits of women (portraits are politically loaded art objects, which when spoken of become terms, with much historical and gender based baggage) these Anonymous Women don’t participate in the gaze. They don’t give you anything back, and they are not giving you back what you expect, and even less of what you want. The woman is not performing for the camera, she gestures, beneath the burden of the sheet, but she doesn’t show off her body. There might be an anonymous woman in posed in an obvious pose in the cannon of our unspoken body language (look at her piece “Mad”), which if uncovered that you would see clearly, clearly meaning with her face — however, these Anonymous Women will never be uncovered, they remain frozen and some even permanently camouflaged into their backgrounds.

PC: Yeah I do do that, I do work in spurts. I had this other idea (you know I have a lot of ideas) and I thought you know, really the next phase to this would to be really to include more home stuff, and so I brought my model and my assistant and my lights and stuff, to my house, I figure if I can get some more architectural details… But of course we covered everything, [the furniture] it’s all draped, so it was like the idea of still hiding, but…

SD: Yes I love those

PC: Yes I just love them too and there’s something so mysterious and creepy and yet there’s something so comforting about not having color, or not “speaking” to you. Do you know what I mean? I mean people don’t do this anymore but, you know, the summer house is covered in the winter…. the summer house is closed up for the winter, and it’s kind of comforting, about everything not having color, in that nothing is kind of speaking to you, everything has a sheet over it and everything is covered. And that’s how I kind of think of them [her anonymous women] That’s how I think of it, they have personalities, some are more out there, that others, again they have personalities, some are really hiding, some are worried, are afraid, some are more defiant, some are like she’s got a cake plate on her head. She’s kind of offering…. Maybe I could give it to you for your series, then when you’re done with it for your pictures then maybe you can pass it along.(…)

excerpt of an interview by Stephanie Dean, in F-Stop Magazine

More of Patty’s work here

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