Prisons is a drawing series in process, begun in 1995. A collection of thumbnail sketches envision the project, picture by picture. There are twelve full scale formal drawings in the portfolio to date, of the 26 - 30 planned.
Drawing on historic precedent in “Prisons Of The Imagination” by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (circa 1750)--a group of etchings well known and revered within the field of Architecture and Western Art History--this collection presents a modern reconsideration of the intersection of structural visions and social conscience. Piranesi imagines soaring, strong, massive and rough spaces as well as those condemned to inhabit them—hopeless and crushed. Indeed, to Piranesi, the very role of this architecture is to punish. The Piranesi etchings contain references to torture that would have been familiar to contemporaries at the time of their publishing. In doing so, Piranesi raised uncomfortable questions about forced confinement, retribution and culpability.
The architecture is institutional cruelty in physical form.
Re-imagining this theme, I explore what other aspects inherent in the incarcerating of persons could be expressed architecturally as metaphors of social structure and control. What launched me into the work was a powerful insight: Members of a society that embraces capital punishment must play an active participatory role in the execution. It is not enough to have a death penalty where the condemned are killed in your name, it must also be by your hand. A composition quickly came to life in the first tiny thumbnail, brought forth on the NYC Subway.
Then, a flood of additional images hit the page.
Through this series of self-directed images I am exploring ideas about agency, guilt, anticipatory terror on death row, solitary confinement, alienation, and finally, in the end, freedom., freedom.