Art exhibition in Isolation
In this project, “An Art Exhibition In Isolation”, I plan to create an exhibition of my artwork directed to this through-the-mail audience. For reasons I will not elaborate here, this audience is unique even in the prison community because a majority of the individuals who sign up for the art curriculum are in solitary confinement. Obviously, this audience can never leave their cells or have limited time outside their cells. Communicating through the mail and watching televisions in their cells are their main accesses to what is “outside.”
Since this audience cannot leave their cells, I will send the exhibition to them.
I have chosen to create an exhibition focusing upon my sketchbooks. I decided to have an exhibition of my drawings for a couple of reasons. In an earlier letter to the prisoners, I wrote that I was going on an intensive drawing trip and explained how I drew from life for nine hours a day. While this drawing is extremely helpful in developing art, no one sees the drawings; sometimes I use them in classes. A number of prisoners wrote to me expressing their interest in seeing the drawings.
Another, and more crucial reason for creating an “exhibition of drawings” is that the drawings are “explorations.” They are not finished, not polished, not perfect. The drawings demonstrate a search that reveals the process of discovery and emphasize the curriculum, “Draw From Life.” My drawings are in striking contrast to what the prisoner-artists allow for themselves, creating drawings that strive to be perfect renderings of an image seen in a photo. This striving to create perfect photo-like renderings interferes with the gritty business of learning how to draw. More importantly, it interferes with “seeing”. This drawing exhibition is directed to using the medium as a discovery process of the world rather than to replicate the world through drawing.
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