Exhibit XXVII

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21 March - 10 July 2009

Dedicated to Til's niece Barbara, and her First Mate, Robert Souther Jr., "pirates" by any other name.

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Behind Bars II

    This is the second of eight exhibits intended to present the artwork, graffiti, and other expressions of incarceration at the former prison site in Lorton, Virginia. 
    This self-assigned project was undertaken, after the prison was decommissioned, in my spare time from 2002 to 2008, with the bulk of the work occurring from 2003 to 2005. My "canvas" consisted of hundreds of cells and other rooms located in dozens of buildings on more than 2,300 acres spread between the town of Lorton in Fairfax County and the village of Occoquan in Prince William County. 
    The majority of buildings constituting the prison complex were generally assembled into four major groups, known as "Central" (or "Central/Max"), "Minimum Security," "Youth Correctional Facility" (or, simply, "YCF"), and the "Occoquan Facility" (or, the "Workhouse"). If there is any logic to the presentation of images in this series of exhibits, it has been to represent all four of these facilities in all of the exhibits in approximate proportion to the amount of material harvested in each of them.

Corner Abstract. Cell 517, Modular Building R-53, Central Facility, DCDC, Lorton, Virginia. 2003. Charles Albert Huckins

    In reflecting on all of the material that I have photographed within the walls of the Correctional Facility at Lorton over the past five or six years, I am struck more than anything by how little of it may be considered purely pornographic or violent in nature. To be sure, the baser instincts of humanity are represented there, and presented here to some extent for the sake of objectivity, but such representations were generally belittled in this observer's eyes by the many manifestations of humanity's more aspiring nature. Religious artifacts and expressions of tenderness seemed to far outnumber demonic symbols and expressions of rage and give one hope for the concept of rehabilitation, even in such unpopular places.
    Some individuals have questioned whether or not any of the drawings or paintings located throughout the prison complex can be considered "art." If nothing else, I hope these exhibits will encourage viewers to consider at least some of the work presented here as art. I would also go so far as to say that much of the work might be considered a purer form of art than other, more public works of art, for it clearly wasn't created with fame or wealth in mind, but more as a way of expressing emotions that most of us rarely have the opportunity to experience.

 Caution: Some images in this exhibit may not be considered suitable for viewing by children.

 

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