KEPT OUT || KEPT IN Features “Prison Obscura” in the Evergreen Gallery


JANUARY 14 – MARCH 2, 2016

Opening reception: Thursday, Jan 14, 4 – 6pm


Prison Obscura is the centerpiece of the Evergreen State College Library’s KEPT OUT || KEPT IN, an extension of 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.


The Evergreen Gallery’s new exhibition brings us face to face with the realities of prison life through rarely seen vernacular, surveillance, evidentiary, and prisoner-made photographs. The bodies of work in Prison Obscura collectively demonstrate the pervasiveness of prisons and their ever-growing populations, simultaneously asserting the humanity of incarcerated people; 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 the requests for “photographs of places missed” 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.


Opening reception for Prison Obscura featuring gallery walkthrough with curator Pete Brook will be held on Thursday, January 14, 4 – 6pm. The Evergreen Gallery is located in the Daniel J. Evans Library 2nd floor, room 2204.








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