Patty Carroll

(American, b. 1946; resides in Chicago, IL)

Patty Carroll’s suburban Chicago upbringing inspired her series, Perfect Lawns (2009 -2013). Fascinated by the cultural myth of the suburbs as an idealized location for American family life, Carroll documents carefully maintained and manicured residential lawns.  To Carroll, the lawns represent mans’ victory over nature, conformity, and order.  By photographing the front yards in a balanced ordered style, Carroll’s work is reminiscent of the New Topographics photographers of the 1970s. Her contrasting use of shadow and focused light is eerie, suggesting feelings of loneliness and desperation within the meticulously landscaped environments.  Ultimately, she contemplates how the perfect landscaping, publically displayed, corresponds or clashes with the lives of those hidden within the homes.

Patty Carroll completed a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1968) and an MS from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1972). Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.  Solo shows include:  The Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England (1996); The Art Institute of Chicago (2004); the White Box Museum, Beijing (2010); and the Chicago Cultural Center (2012) among others.  Group shows include: the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1980, 1984, and 1986); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1984), and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1994) among others.  Her work is held in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; among others. Carroll is published in Women Photographers (1990) and Changing Chicago (1989), and her books include: Spirited Visions: Portraits of Chicago Artists (1992), Culture is Everywhere (2002), Living the Life: The World of Elvis Tribute Artists (2005), Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America (2012) She currently teaches digital photography part-time at Columbia College Chicago and at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


from the Perfect Lawns seriesfrom the Perfect Lawns series
from the Perfect Lawns seriesfrom the Perfect Lawns series


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Museum of Contemporary Photography

at Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 663-5554

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