Frances F. Denny's series “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.
Signature: Signed, titled, dated, and numbered on label, verso