For my photographs, I construct iconic architecture, creating rural scenes out of clay and wood, then paint or draw their backdrops. Taking a minimalist approach, details are left out. The scenes are lit with natural studio light that is manipulated to create light and shadow, so new shapes fall on other forms. My recent work continues a mission photographing small-scale, hand-built constructions, which are then photographed, resulting in what I call “constructed photographs.”
The dryer lint work, although minimal and process-based, is about collecting and assembling. One work can take up to a year to complete. I have completed only six lint works over the last 8 years. I do at least 3-6 clothes washings to get one swath of lint from a dryer trap thick enough to handle and fold over; it can take months to collecting enough for a new work. Literally and metaphorically my work has been inspired by “working around the house”; over the centuries, women have used their handy work as an expression of their creativity. I am carrying on the tradition, while using untraditional art materials. With these lint works I have moved away from narration towards abstraction, paring away as much as possible yet still continuing to work the impressions of “home” and memory of place.
Along with lint assemblages, I’ve begun another body of work—assembling blocks of unused paper and binding them with string in a grid pattern, which for me is a form of drawing. This work, which lends a formal presentation to very mundane materials, reflects my love of bound books holding secrets of the universe.
about the artist
Carolyn Conrad was born in Massachusetts and grew up Acton, a rural town steeped in New England history, a large source of her inspiration. Her early art training at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and undergraduate work at Massachusetts College, helped form her minimalist and conceptual aesthetic. She first exhibited in and around Boston and then moved to New York City, where she received a MFA from New York University. She currently maintains a studio in Sag Harbor, NY.
Conrad’s work has been widely exhibited in galleries, institutions and museums. Solo, group exhibitions and installations include: Parrish Museum, Southampton, NY; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY(solo); Pamela Williams Gallery, Amagansett, NY; Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT; Alex Ferrone Gallery, Cutchogue, NY; Art in General, New York, NY; Atlantic Gallery, New York, NY; Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA; Islip Museum, Islip, NY; Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; New England School of Photography, Boston, MA(solo); Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA; and Cloitre des Billettes, Paris, France.