Laurie Simmons' new color photographs depart from her previous work in content, scale and size while maintaining a consistent emphasis on abstract color richness and ironic displacement of known realities. The earlier small-format cibachrome prints (from 3" x 4" to 9" x 12") of domestic interiors, Western outdoors, and underwater scenes were all staged with miniature sets and toy figures that recalled a familiar real life scene but finally could not serve as an equivalent of it. In this new work Simmons expands the underwater theme of her last small-scale series. Instead of dime-store divers with aquarium props, now real women and men swim, fall and float in aqua pools or blue and purple ocean waters. The figures, alone or in groups of two or three, nude or clothed in colored wet suits and strange bathing costumes, in some instances are diving in partially visible amidst paths of bubbly water, or engaged in a weightless underwater walk. Watery distortions physically dislocate the figures from ordinary human movements and from one another in such a way as to suggest a surreal choreography. The poetic effects of the monochromatic water color and balletic activity in an unarticulated space is as alien to our expectations as were the miniatures.
"These apparently gentle images are like subtle snares, unhabited by by adult dolls who seem possessed by passive complacency in a kind of dream world. Their symbolic, ritualized forms of behavior seduce the viewer to join them in their two–edged, cloying universe where allusions to human scale and varying degrees of verisimilitude blur the middle ground separating art and life." Phyllis Plous, Invented Images
"Simmons is building a large area of investigation, opening new territories and setting forth on a determined exploration of the possibilities of the photograph to present aspects of reality while confirming its fictional nature. The formal order of objects and figures consistently remains balanced with a resourceful and intriguing fascination with new subject matter." Michael R. Klein, Arts Magazine
Laurie Simmons was born in 1949 in Long Island, New York. She received her B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in 1971 when she moved to New York City. Her work has been seen in one-person exhibitions at the University of Rhode Island, P.S.1 in Long Island City and Artists Space in New York City. The photographs have been included in numerous group shows: in Austria, England, Paris, Edinburgh as well as in Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Chicago, and Dallas and Houston in Texas.