From:                              Evergreen Gallery <>

Sent:                               Sunday, January 10, 2016 6:48 PM

To:                                   Library DL

Subject:                          "Prison Obscura" - opening reception Thu Jan 14, 4-6pm


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Evergreen Gallery



Opening Reception: Thursday, Jan 14, 4-6pm - featuring gallery walk-through with curator Pete Brook
Exhibition continues through March 2, 2016

Prison Libraries/Prison Art, presentations and discussion, participants include Laura Sherbo and Pat Graney
Wednesday, Jan 27, 11:30-1:00 in COM Building Recital Hall





What do we know of our prisons? Do photographs help us know? Are the images of prisons we see reliable? Are they even useful? How do images relate to the political, social, and economic realities that exist within our prison industrial complex? Do prisons, as closed sites, present any challenges to the claims photography makes as a medium of communication?

The exhibition Prison Obscura, curated by Pete Brook, sheds light on the prison-industrial complex through rarely seen vernacular, surveillance, evidentiary, and prisoner-made photographs, The exhibition  calls upon its audience to consider these questions deeply as they come face to face with the realities of prison life. The bodies of work in Prison Obscura collectively demonstrate the pervasiveness of prisons and the stresses of their ever-growing populations, simultaneously asserting the humanity of incarcerated people and refusing to reduce them to symbols of a broken system.

Through data-driven visualizations, artists Josh Begley and Paul Rucker examine prisons across the United States, highlighting their mass construction and architectural similarity. Workshops led by Kristen S. Wilkins and Evergreen State College faculty Steve Davis allow juvenile and adult prisoners the opportunity to self-represent through performative portraiture and image-making. Collected letters and visiting room portraits by Alyse Emdur, oral histories collected and portraits shot by Robert Gumpert, and “photographs of places missed” requested by incarcerated people and fulfilled by Mark Strandquist go beyond the identity of “prisoner” to give intimate insight into the experiences and desires of incarcerated people. Prison Obscura also features a stunning collection of evidence images from Brown v. Plata, a class-action lawsuit against the state of California related to prison overcrowding and access to medical care. 


Prison Obscura is the centerpiece of The Evergreen State College Library's 


Kept Out/Kept In extends ongoing college-wide inquiries concerning social justice, social inequalities, and race and racism. Taking place throughout the 2016 winter quarter, this cluster of exhibits and events concentrates on the interface of social and economic inequality within the prison-industrial complex. Kept Out/Kept In references the social and economic structures that restrict access to economic advancement and social well-being, and the physical walls and bars that enforce incarceration. It invites critical investigation of the relationships among the invisible and visible structures that delimit, channel, regulate, segregate, and punish members of our society with discriminatory race- and class-based accelerations. Kept Out/Kept In offers direct support to coordinated studies programs, creating opportunities for teaching and learning across programs and across campuses.

       For more information about exhibits and events, please visit


Image credits  --  top row:  Paul Rucker, Proliferation, 11 min. digital video  -  Kristen S. Wilkins, diptych from the series Supplication
bottom row:  Alyse Emdur, from the series Prison Landscapes  -  Josh Begley, screengrab from Prison Map  -  Image from pinhole camera workshop taught by Steve Davis at Remann Hall, WA


Prison Obscura is a traveling exhibition curated by Pete Brook and made possible with the support of the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College, Haverford, PA.

Evergreen Gallery - Library 2204 | 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW | Olympia, Washington 98505 | (360) 867-5125


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