Walking, Talking, Lying - Laurie Simmons, Kate Linker
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Laurie Simmons is one of the first contemporary American photographers to create elaborately staged narrative photographs. Using dolls to act out piquant scenarios within specially constructed environments, she has slyly commented on contemporary culture while recapturing a sense of her childhood in an era, she recalls as "both beautiful and lethal." Populated by housewives, ventriloquists', summies and familiar objects in unfami;oar guises, her diverse tableaux are often infused with bittersweet nostalgia yet charged with a disquieting sense of dislocation.
In Laurie Simmons: Walking, Talking, Lying, Kate Linker concentrates on selected series- Ventriloquism, Walking and Lying objects, Clothes Make the Man, Cafe on the Inner Mind, and a range of self portraits - to illuminate ideas that cut through the artist's entire body of work. Of particular interest are the willfully ambiguous interplay between objects, figures, and backgrounds, and the way specific things (toys, cakes, guns) and settings (suburban interiors in particular) take on strange powers in Simmons's images. As Linker makes clear, the artist's use of narrative links her to a number of contemporary fiction writers, while her exploration of artifice, advertising childhood memory and unabashed eclecticism has been a vital factor in postwar photography.