Laurie Simmons’ “Untitled (Living Room/Bathroom II)” is part of a seminal body of work, “In and Around the House,” that put Simmons at the forefront of a new generation of artists, predominantly women, whose photographic works began a different dialogue in contemporary art.
The use of set-up photography combined with the notion of child play (the images were shot in the rooms of and in front of the facades of disassembled dollhouses) enabled Simmons to control perception and make reference to both general stereotypes and her own personal memories. As she arranged and rearranged the small vignettes, consisting of female dolls, dollhouse furnishings, miniature props and postcards, she was, in her own words, “… looking for the way your memory white-washes the image when you think about something from the past – making it far more perfect.”
Simmons, while sharing strategies with the artists known as the “Pictures Generation” (Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Louise Lawler and Sarah Charlesworth, among others), forged her own identity more closely aligned with surrealism and artists such as Man Ray, Rodchenko, and Bellmer. Simmons’ use and manipulation of dolls and interiors, marked by intentional dislocations and unexpected conjunctions, created nonlinear narratives and abstract pictorial planes that echoes the skewed images of personal memory and dreams. Her subjects, which swell with a faux-tone of a simple, safe and secure home life, feel as relevant today as when Simmons first shot them.
Laurie Simmons has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe with recent solo exhibitions at the MCA in Chicago, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Jewish Museum in New York Her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC; the Hara Museum in Tokyo; and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam, among many others.