LaToya Ruby Frazier, Momme Portrait Series (Floral Comforter), from the series The Notion of Family, 2008. Gelatin silver print, 16 × 20 inches (40.6 × 50.8 cm). Anonymous promised gift. Courtesy the artist and Michel Rein, Paris/Brussels. © LaToya Ruby Frazier
In her work in photography, video, and performance, LaToya Ruby Frazier addresses contemporary topics such as inequality in access to healthcare and the societal and personal consequences of deindustrialization. Combining documentary modes with portraiture, she presents candid glimpses of everyday life. Over the course of the last decade, Frazier has focused on the social, economic, and environmental deterioration of her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, whose effects she has witnessed as the tangible and psychological scars on her immediate family.
Momme Portrait Series (Floral Comforter) is from a series of portraits featuring the artist and her mother posing in the latter’s house in Braddock. These photographs capture the two women in the act of making an image of themselves within the mis-en-scène of a domestic space. The floral backdrop and plaid pajama pants in this work register Frazier’s interest in patterns, and, with the vertical elements of the figures, provide visual structure to the overall image. Through her visually sensitive attention to the individual, the family, and U.S. society, Frazier visualizes complex relationships in precisely organized compositions.
This photograph is one among several by Frazier in the ICA/Boston collection, and together they enter into dialogue with works by Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Rineke Dijkstra, Roe Ethridge, Ragnar Kjartansson, and Thomas Ruff that explore identity through photographic portraiture.