Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Black is the Day, Black is the Night is a new project I've been working quietly on for a while now. It is definitely a work in progress at this point and I have much to think about. It is a huge stretch away from portraits that I normally make, yet feels connected in terms of what draws me in to make the work. Wallflower being an investigation into masculinity, gender and stereotypes looks at young men in New York and New Orleans sitting still before a staged environment, Black is the Day, Black is the Night is looking at masculinity and stereotypes as well, but in regards to men serving life and deathrow sentences in some of the most hardcore maximum security prisons in the US. All of the men I have been in contact with have served over 13 years in confinement, going in as young as 13, 15 and 18. Our only contact is the letters and drawings shared back and forth. Here are some of the images I have made so far. For more info you can read the entire statement here. I was fortunate enough to be able to display an installation from this project at The Carnegie Art Museum in Southern CA, which remains open until Feb 21, 2010.

The Real May Never Equal the Imagined, 2009 / 16x20

13/32 (Not the Man I Once Was), 2009 / 16x20

36 Months out of a Life Sentence, 2009 / Varying sizes

"Serving time on the River" game spinner, 2009 / found object

108 Months out of a Life Sentence, 2009 / varying sizes

26/44 (Not the Man I Once Was), 2009 / 16x20

Let Life and Death be the Spear Point of our Days, 2009 / 16x20

Food Tray, 2009 / found object


Al Palmer said...

This work seems both a departure from your other work and a (kind of) logical progression. I really like the subtlety of the photographs, it gives them a really powerful feel.

How do you see this work presented? I really struggle to imagine this on a gallery wall - a little book of this work would be really moving I think.

I look forward to seeing more!

Amy Elkins said...

Hey Al. Thanks for always giving such great feedback here. I appreciate it, if I haven't told you that yet. I can see this on a gallery wall but definitely in sections and not all clumped together. I can see the sky photographs throughout a room, mixed with the text pieces. But a book idea is a great way to think about it as well. At this point, it's an open ended project.. clearly I have a lot to think about still.