|Several works from Laurie Simmons' recent series The Boxes (Ardis Vinklers) are on view alongside early works that inspired the artist’s debut film The Music of Regret.
Named for Ardis Vinklers, a Latvian artist, and his three lightboxes, which Simmons discovered at an antique fair, the new series continues the artist’s ongoing project of staging scenes for her camera with various figures inside constructed environments. Simmons was immediately attracted to these assemblage compositions and the opportunities they presented in terms of space and light. Combining Vinklers’ original tableaus of a ballroom, a library, and an art gallery with her own aesthetic, Simmons placed figures inside the furnished rooms, using various magazine cut-outs of glamorous women and one male doll to create imaginary narratives. The scenes are simultaneously seductive and disturbing, evocative and unknown, as the figures do not interact with one another and the result is a deep sense of dislocation and isolation.
Photo courtesy of Sperone Westwater
In Magnum Opus II (the Bye-Bye), the finale of her series Walking and Lying Objects (1987-1991), Simmons lined up several of the objects on legs in a row on a mirrored surface. Symbols of domesticity (a toilet, a house), temporality (a clock, an hourglass), and perception (a camera, microscope, and globe) appear to be taking a bow as their reflections loom large, lending a sinister quality to these everyday objects. This image, along with the individual objects from the series, was the inspiration for Act III of the film, in which dancers bring the parts of the cake, house, book, gun, and pocket watch to life and perform for an unseen director in the ultimate audition.
Born on Long Island, New York in 1949, Simmons lives and works in New York City. In 1997, the Baltimore Museum of Art organized a twenty-year retrospective of her work, entitled The Music of Regret, which included 150 photographs. Simmons was the recipient of the 2005 Roy Lichtenstein Residency in Visual Arts at The American Academy in Rome.
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