In and Around the House
July 8, 2008, 1:15 am
Filed under: Art, Photography

Laurie Simmons
May 17th – June 28th, 2008
Carolina Nitsch Project Room
534 West 22nd St. New York, NY

This show was a collection of black and white photographs taken by Laurie Simmons from 1976-78. This series of images, each 5 1/4 by 8″, depict scenes in and out of doll houses, playing with perspective so that at times it is difficult to ascertain what is life-sized and what is not.

These depictions of dolls and doll houses are at the same time nostalgic and a bit disturbing. The dolls, all female, go about their business, reading a newspaper, sitting on couches, chairs, and counters, loading a chair on the back of a miniature pick-up truck and then awkwardly sitting on that as well; forming a non-linear, fragmented narrative, left up to the imagination of the viewer.

The black and white nature of these pictures, as well as the subject matter of child’s toys, brings an essence of innocence to the series. However, the figures’ stiff postures and strange positioning at times seems almost sinister. One image depicts a doll laying on its back in a kitchen. A few others include white chalk lines drawn on the floor, reminiscent of those drawn around bodies in crime scenes, but at the same time reminiscent of a rug found in other images of similar scenes.

With these images Laurie Simmons explores nostalgia and memory. She includes life-sized images of the home as well as doll house images, sometimes intermixed. This tests our awareness and helps us to identify with her characters. The dolls remind us of childhood and play, but the scenes are lonely, rigid, and a little sinister. This creates in the mind a feeling of loss; an empty feeling left by bittersweet memories long gone.


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