The title The Boxes (Ardis Vinklers) refers to a Latvian artist Ardis Vinklers and his three light boxes, which Laurie Simmons discovered in an antiques fair. The new series of photographs continues the theme, which Simmons has been developing for some time, creating scenarios in which appear various of the figures she has constructed. The original paintings of Vinklers set in a dance hall, a bookshop and an art gallery, are combined into her own aesthetic to create her imaginary narratives. Simmons places figures in furnished rooms, using pictures of sophisticated women cut out from various magazines, and one male figure, a doll. The scenes thus constructed are seductive and disturbing, evocative and mysterious, in the way that the figures have no contact with one another, so a strong sense of dislocation and solitude is produced. She also photographs the boxes on their own, empty of their figures, using light and shadow to create silent, austere architectural portraits.
For more than 25 years, in photographs, which combine humor and pathos, Laurie Simmons has exploited apparently outdated sexual stereotypes which continue to operate below the surface of contemporary life. With the incorporation of puppets and costumes her inanimate images have always had their own particular stamp ‚Äì especially her series of walking objects, where the legs of the women are adorned with objects out of all proportion such as a house, a revolver or a book. The Dada artist Tristan Tzara wrote that ‚ÄúObjects dream and speak when they sleep‚Äù and that is exactly what happens in the work of Laurie Simmons.
Laurie Simmons’ segment in Art:21‚ÄîArt in the Twenty-First Century recently premiered on PBS.