Laurie Simmons at Carolina Nitsch

Laurie Simmons, “Woman listening to the radio,” (1978). Courtesy the artist and Carolina Nitsch.

Last call to see the Laurie Simmons (Season 4) exhibition closing tomorrow at Carolina Nitsch Project Room. In and Around the House features the artist’s early black and white photographs from 1976-78, staged images using dolls and dollhouses in which the narratives have been carefully choreographed.  Simmons makes references to general stereotypes and her own personal memories, though controlling these perceptions through the deliberate arrangement and dislocation of character, props, and action.

Only 5 x 8 inches in scale, the intimate photographs playfully manipulate big topics like feminism, consumerism, and the nature of child’s play. “Some feature a small, molded plastic doll: a stocky, big-shouldered, short-haired housewife in a sensible dress. She is an archetype of 1950s normalcy, but she has a scary, masklike face and seems to be going crazy. She’s fallen to the floor, she waves her hinged arms about and does headstands in the kitchen” (Ken Johnson, New York Times).