Laurie Simmons is known for her photographs and films using human surrogates like puppets, toys, dolls, and magazine cut-outs, among other props. A brief narrative summary of her photographic bodies of work includes the following: Early Color Interiors (1978-79), where vintage dolls resembling housewives are set in 50’s interior decor; Tourism (1983-84), where the dolls are found sightseeing at the Eiffel Tower or a casino in Las Vegas; Talking Objects (1987-89) and Walking and Lying Objects (1987-91), which are portraits of hybrids of dolls’legs topped with the body of an object like a cake, a gun, or a house; and The Boxes (Ardis Vinklers) (2005) where dolls are actors set up in mid-performance of a play on a stage.Read More
Simmons has long investigated human performance as it relates to specific environments through a deep documentation and profound choreography of dolls and objects in and on a stage. The boundaries between fiction and reality are often blurred, and the artist’s tableaus are evocative of a sincere humanity, emotion and character. The critic Kate Linker remarked that Simmons is placed in a generation of artists who came out of the mid 70's and approached photography as a conceptual medium. She also points out: “These artists — Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, Barbara Kruger, and Sarah Charlesworth among them — inherited the photo-based conceptual practices of Ed Ruscha, Jan Dibbets, and others and applied the radical new definition of photography as a medium of discourse to the examination of social and cultural representations.” (Kate Linker, Reflections on a Mirror, Laurie Simmons, Walking, Talking, Lying, 2005, p.8 Aperture Foundation). Linker has also stated that “Simmons' work is a deceptively simple response to a complex transformation in American culture centered on the increasing importance of objects.” (op. p.9).