Jesse Krimes, Blackwater, 2023; Framed, Hand-Embellished, Signed, and Numbered Limited Edition Print
Jesse Krimes is an artist whose work explores societal mechanisms of power and control with a focus on criminal and racial justice. His work often investigates both his own experience with incarceration and the experiences of the millions of others who are currently behind bars. Krimes’s recent works integrate a variety of rich American quilting traditions, blending allusions to Amish styles from Pennsylvania with patchwork masterpieces from Alabama’s Gees Bend community. Working to counteract the dehumanizing, degrading, and isolating effects of prison, he works collaboratively with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, by integrating fragments of their old clothing, textiles, and other ephemera into his works.
Blackwater is from his Elegy Quilt series, which incorporates memories or feelings of home described by currently incarcerated people. In the Elegy series, antique chairs sit empty, evoking both absence and symbols of Americana that have been forgotten and cast aside. Krimes harnesses the power of absence to reassert the humanity of his unseen subjects. Portraying the homes of people who are incarcerated is an affirmation that they once lived in community with the free world and that many of them will return home. The frames are not entirely empty of life, however: animal figures loom or confront the viewer directly, suggesting a panoptic state of surveillance and alluding to American zoology’s troubled history of eugenicist and white supremacist ideas. Krimes has created each hand-transferred print for ART FOR CHANGE on prison bedsheets and embellished each work through a combination of hand embroidery, sewing on remnants of fabric from the original quilted work, and hand-drawing or painting over the print, making each print unique.
21.5 x 19 inches
Hand-transferred print on prison bedsheet
Limited Edition of 25 with 5AP + 1PP
Hand-embellished, signed and numbered by the artist
Of this series benefitting Brooklyn Museum, Krimes notes “The Brooklyn Museum was the first major museum to acquire my work for its permanent collection. I see this as a reflection of their sustained commitment to opening doors that have traditionally been closed to marginalized artists—including formerly incarcerated people. The Brooklyn Museum exemplifies a commitment to building an inclusive community, both in the surrounding borough and in the art world. It is rare to find institutions that are authentically focusing on advancing social good and are also showcasing top-tier artworks.”
ART FOR CHANGE will donate $500 from each print sale towards the Brooklyn Museum to help bolster the annual gala's aim of raising critical funding to help the institution fulfill its mission to be a home for inspiring art and courageous conversations. In keeping with all of our releases, the artist will receive 50% of the net proceeds from each print sale.
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