Amy Elkins: Black is the Day, Black is the Night
September 9, 2017–April 29, 2018
Amy Elkins (American, born 1979), 13/32 (Not the Man I Once Was), 2009-2016, pigmented inkjet print, Gift of the artist
Amy Elkins (American, born 1979), Four Years out of a Death Row Sentence (Forest), pigmented inkjet print, Purchase with funds from The Thalia and Michael C. Carlos Advised Fund, Joe B. Massey, Lindsay W. Marshall and Dr. Lucius C. Beebe, Sr., Avery Kastin, Jane Cofer, and William Boling
Black is the Day, Black is the Night is a multi-layered photographic project by artist Amy Elkins (American, born 1979) that explores the psychological effects of long-term solitary confinement. Of the 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States, 100,000 of them are kept in isolation, often for years on end. Because her subjects are physically inaccessible and hidden from view (prisons generally do not allow photography inside), Elkins drew on correspondence with several men living on death row or serving life sentences. In addition to seven photographs from the project, the exhibition includes letters and ephemera written by the incarcerated men over the course of many years.
Elkins blended fact and fantasy to create extensively processed portraits and landscapes that evoke her subjects’ unstable senses of identity, fading memories, and the banal realities of everyday life in prison. The selection on view in this exhibition is drawn from a larger body of work that culminated in a book.
Elkins’s photographs are not an overt indictment of the American criminal justice system, yet in asking us to question the impact of a system designed to be out of sight, she implicates us in a decidedly political act. Elkins does not demand that we empathize with her subjects but instead asks us to pause and question our own stances on the use of capital punishment and solitary confinement before passing judgment on these men and dismissing them from our thoughts.
This exhibition is made possible by
Premier Exhibition Series Partner
Exhibition Series Sponsors
Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation, The Antinori Foundation, Ann and Tom Cousins, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Jane and Hicks Lanier, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Barbara and Ron Balser, Corporate Environments, Peggy Foreman, James F. Kelly Charitable Trust, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, The Lubo Fund, Margot and Danny McCaul, Joyce and Henry Schwob
Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Howell Exhibition Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund