The Louisville Cardinal

Art Behind Bars

By Morgan Cordary–

Ever wonder where could you go to see works of art made entirely out of Cheetos bags, popsicle sticks or even toilet paper mache? All of this and more can be found at Schneider Hall, the Fine Arts building, on campus. The “Bars to Walls” exhibit currently in the Hite Art Gallery features a variety of artwork exclusively by inmates from correctional facilities across the state of Kentucky.

The exhibit contains approximately 100 pieces, including drawings, sculptures mand paintings, made from an intriguing variety of materials. The artworks present various themes from prison life to fantasy to reminiscence of home. The depictions work together to create insight into the lives and minds of prisoners.

One of the most striking works created from toilet paper mache, finished with acrylic paint and enhanced with mixed media featured a panoramicstyle view of a prison cellblock. The artist Marvin Francis entitled his unconventional sculpture “Prison Cellblock Blues: Outside Looking In.” The attention to detail is outstanding, from the prisoners’ magazines to trash decorating the warden’s desk.

Continuing the theme of nontraditional artistic mediums is Frank Eldred’s “Purse” made entirely of empty Cheetos bags. The way the bags are intricately woven makes the purse appear fully functional as well as original in style. The inmate artists favor recyclables in their works, like Matthew James Hall’s model “Log Country Home” which includes a log cabin of toothpicks with a construction paper yard.

The “Bars to Walls” exhibit is remarkably unique and eye-opening. Since admission to Hite Gallery is open and free to students and the public, it is definitely worth checking out between classes or after a lunch break. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The exhibit will run until Sept. 25th , with a closing reception at Hite.

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Photos: Lara Kinne/TheLouisvilleCardinal