The Washington Sculptors Group and Workhouse Arts Center are pleased to present the exhibition Brick Layers, opening at the Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton VA, on Saturday, April 11, 2015 with a reception from 6-9pm. The exhibition will remain on view through June 28th. The exhibition presents the work of twenty-three artists in the Vulcan Gallery and outdoor spaces. A panel discussion will take place on Friday, April 24, 2015 in conjunction with International Sculpture Day.
Brick Layers features artworks which are grounded in the rich and layered history at the site of the Occoquan Workhouse. The work of these 23 artists engages in conversations of current and historic significance related to the penal system, the Suffragists, and the use of labor and natural resources as a vehicle for suppression or liberation.
The Workhouse buildings were made by the hands of its early prisoners. The penalty for their non-felony crimes was a term of forced labor. Made from scratch, each of the buildings' bricks were formed from clay and fired in their large beehive kiln. Brick by brick, the incarcerated built walls for imprisoning others over time. Workhouse hands supplied much of the brick used for the construction of housing in DC at the time as well.
Later in its history, the abuse of imprisoned Suffragists by guards at the Workhouse was a key event leading to the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote.
The work in the show humanizes these histories from the site and encourages conversation about topics that continue to resonate to this day.
~ Jennie Shanker, Juror
Saturday April 24, 2015
A Discourse on the Provenance of Space in relation to the Sculptural Object.
In conjunction with International Sculpture Center's IS Day. IS Day is an annual celebration event held worldwide on April 24 to further the ISC's mission of advancing the creation and understanding of sculpture and its unique, vital contribution to society.
ABOUT THE JUROR
Jennie Shanker is a Philadelphia-based artist, curator, educator and activist. In 1996, Philadelphia's historic Eastern State Penitentiary hosted "Prison Sentences: Prison as Site, Prison as Subject", curated by Julie Courtney and Todd Gilens. Jennie oversaw the safety of the site and the installation of the artworks in the exhibition. Since then, Eastern State has recognized the contributions that artists can make in the interpretation of an historic site, and has maintained a unique, highly regarded program of artist installations. She continues to act as a consultant in the selection and installation of artist projects for the site. She teaches sculpture, ceramics, and community arts courses at Tyler School of Art, and also teaches in the graduate studio art program at the University of the Arts.
ABOUT THE WORKHOUSE
Workhouse Arts Center: An innovative collaboration of visual and performing arts and education in the unique historic setting of the former DC prison.
Workhouse Arts Foundation Mission: To be a self-sustaining, thriving arts center with programs in the visual and performing arts and arts education through the repurposing of the former Workhouse correctional facility.
Workhouse Arts Center Vision: Leverage the architectural heritage of the former Workhouse correctional facility by transforming it into a unique arts center that provides visual and performing arts, arts education and entertainment for the community-at-large.