SIDEWALKING: Jailhouse Rock

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From Gomez + Gonzalez, Presented By Philagrafika, Galleries At Moore, Moore College Of Art & Design, 1/27/12 by JONATHAN VALANIA

RELATED: Spanish artists María Jesús González and Patricia Gómez have created large-scale prints, photographs and related videos during their artist residency at the now decommissioned Holmesburg Prison in Northeast Philadelphia. The artists, neither of whom  has exhibited previously in the U.S., have a collaborative practice grounded in art conservation; utilizing a modified version of a technique known as strappo, they work primarily to preserve the surfaces of buildings—the veritable “skin of architecture”—by detaching  a wall’s paint with glues and fabric and transferring that surface paint, in its entirety,  to a new canvas. In Philadelphia, they will work at the now abandoned Holmesburg Prison  before it is demolished, creating large-format “printings” of drawings, paintings, and graffiti  left by former inmates on the walls. The artists’ prints are a physical archive of the prison cells—including paint, drawings and markings left by the inmates who lived there. Holmesburg prison was built in 1896 following the widely replicated wheel and spoke plan designed by John Haviland for the Eastern State Penitentiary in 1829. It was in use for nearly a century, finally closing its doors in 1995. MORE

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