Let Virtue Be Your Guide by Frances F. Denny
Let Virtue Be Your Guide examines the artist’s family and their deeply rooted history as early settlers of New England. One ancestor, John Howland, was a deckhand aboard The Mayflower. Unearthing the idea of feminine “virtue” from the confines of its historical meaning, the photographs of the women in the artist’s family have a watchful quality, as if the artist is defining for herself what it means to be a woman. Her sitters, and the domestic spaces they inhabit, together evoke a distinct and well-worn privilege. In the photographs seams pull apart exposing the shifts occurring across generations of women. The resulting collection of images becomes a search for meaning in heritage, a challenge to the notion of legacy, and the artist’s reckoning with a traditional version of American femininity.
Photographs included in Let Virtue Be Your Guide were taken between 2011-2014. They were made in nine private residences located in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The title of the series references a 1982 Rhode Island Historical Society exhibition of colonial girls’ embroidery samplers.
Frances F. Denny lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
To view more of Frances' work, please visit her website.