Bound & Gagged
Vahe Berberian, Gin Stevens, Jason Houchen, Jack Howe, Chris Goodman, Eduardo Benedetto, James Brooks, Joe Girandola, Eliana Dominguez, Lorenzo Moran, Drew, Man One, Vyal, Werc.
Los Angeles - Black Maria Gallery announced “Bound & Gagged,” a new group exhibition that will open on Saturday, April 21, at 7 PM and will run until May 15.
Featuring paintings, drawings, graffiti, and various objects, some of which date back to the 1950s, “Bound & Gagged” is an exploration of the artistic attempt to break out of the dark side, according to Black Maria Gallery director Zara Zeitountsian. The Exhibition will comprise graffiti created especially for the exhibition by a number of Los Angeles artists, as well as ongoing screenings of a recent documentary on prison art. The graffiti component of the exhibition is being organized in collaboration with Gallery Crewest.
“Imprisonment, whether actual or metaphorical, is an extreme experience that might push people to respond with a radical alternative to their boundaries, by channeling the desire for freedom into art,” Zeitountsian said. “What’s remarkable is that creative expression in conditions of confinement is often tantamount to doing away with one’s inhibitions, resulting in a heightened sense of liberation and release.”
While many of the artists participating in the upcoming exhibition have never done time behind bars, some are former prisoners and one is still incarcerated. In addition to new paintings and drawings, the featured works include prison art, such as worry beads made of hardened bread and a stone book, culled from the 1950s, 70s, and 80s.
“Art created out of a sense of imprisonment has a distinct intensity and honesty to it,” Zeitountsian continued. “Such works do away with the impulse to sanitize things; they’re gritty, unafraid to say it as it is.”
Sam Saga, exhibition curator, commented on some of the subject matter of the featured works. “Sex and religion are common themes in prison art because there’s a process of emotional purification here, of getting to the bottom of it all. It’s highly personal stuff. When a prison inmate, who has never drawn a line in his life, suddenly picks up paint and brush as a way to find a certain grounding, he’s going to paint what he knows to be true, what he yearns for the most. Hence images of sex and religion, as perhaps the ultimate expressions of love.”