PRISON PORTRAITURE

The selected portfolio of drawings and paintings are from the 2014 exhibit, In Your Face, the Power of Portraiture. This series of portraits was inspired by Bruce Jackson's book, Pictures From a Drawer, Prison Art and the Power of Portraiture (2009). For his book, University of Buffalo professor Jackson used digital technology to restore and enlarge early 20th century prison mugshots from Arkansas State Penitentiary to create photographic portraits of prisoners.

 

I was intrigued by the haunting mug shots of men and women, young and old, black and white. Some in prison stripes, some in suits and others in ill-fitting, tattered clothes. Some had numbers, none had names. I questioned their identity, societal displacement, and crimes that led to incarceration in early 20th century impoverished Arkansas. What was their story? Did they actually commit crime at all? Or was it as simple as stealing food. Or perhaps violent? Whatever their crimes, I needed to restore their element of humanity that was stripped from them during their incarceration through explorative mark making of their dignity, fear, and vulnerability.

 

I began imagining their stories with drawings - beginning and sometimes finishing them upside down. This gave them a distorted ambiguity most appropriate of their incarceration. How does their human qualities reflect our own?  These images became a mirror, an exploration into my own flaws, fears, vulnerabilities, and humanity. Qualities one is typically afraid to see and acknowledge. Paintings were executed larger than life to command attention and introspectively confront viewers.

 

Like mirrors, reflecting themselves.

Pink Jacket

Diptych, acrylic, wax, and charcoal, 44" x 26"

No. 1858 III

Acrylic, charcoal, and wax, 30" x 22" Sold

No. 212

Acrylic, charcoal, and wax, 60" x 48" Sold

No. 8352 I

Acrylic, charcoal, and wax, 60" x 48" Sold

No. 1050

Charcoal, pastel, and ink, 24" x 18" Sold

No, 2145

Charcoal, pastel, and acrylic, 30" x 23" Sold

No. 8352  II

Pastel and charcoal, 24" x 19" Sold

No. 1958

Charcoal, acrylic, and wax, 30" x 21"

No. 1858

Acrylic, charcoal, and wax, 60" x 48" Sold

No. 174

Acrylic, plaster, and charcoal, 24" x 19"

No. 101

Pastel and charcoal, 32" x 28" Sold

No. 2442

Acrylic , charcoal, and ink, 32" x 28"

No. 2145 II

Charcoal and pastel, 26" x 23"

Zodiac

Pastel and acrylic, 24" x 20" Sold

No. 8352

Acrylic, charcoal, and wax, 60" x 48" Sold

No. 1858 II

Acrylic and charcoal, 31" x 28"

No. 1858 IV

Acrylic and charcoal, 31" x 28"

No. 1233

Charcoal, pastel, and acrylic, 24" x 18"

No. 1958 I

Charcoal, pastel, and acrylic, 30" x 22"

No. 1958 II

Pastel and acrylic, 23" x 19"

No. 167

Pastel, 24" x 19"

No. 1552

Pastel and ink, 23" x 19"

No. 9148

Charcoal, pastel, and ink 25" x 20" Sold

No. 212

Acrylic, charcoal, and wax, 60" x 48" Sold

No. 164

Pastel and acrylic 14" x 24" Sold

No. 1502

Charcoal, acrylic, and wax, 28" x 20"

No. 1096

Pastel, acrylic, and ink, 26" x 17" Sold

No. 1238

Acrylic and pastel, 25" x 20"

No. 1239

Charcoal and pastel, 29" x 23"

White Shirt

Charcoal and acrylic, 29" x 23"

Convict

Charcoal and pastel, 24" x 16"

Convict

Pastel, 36" x 30"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Pen and marker, 10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Pen and pastel, 10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8" Sold

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Pen and marker, 10" x 8"

Convict

Marker, 10" x 8"

Convict

Pen and marker, 10" x 8"

Convict

Pen, 10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Ink and pen,10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Pen and marker, 10" x 8"

Convict

Pen, 10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8"

Convict

Graphite, 10" x 8" Sold

all images and content © Lori Loveberry George

No. 8352  II

Pastel and charcoal, 24" x 19" Sold