x h i b i t s
"Thou Art... Will Give..."
June 9 to July 2, 2005
Thursday June 9, 7-9:00 p.m.
Eric Kunsman brings us an exquisite series of images
documenting the Eastern State Penitentiary (PA) where traditional
black and white photography is brought to new levels of refinement
in the "digital darkroom." The penitentiary was "unbelievably
harsh during its ‘solitary confinement era’ in the 1800s," says
Kunsman. He found himself intrigued by the complex relationship between
punishment and altruism that had inspired the creation and management
of the Penitentiary. The radiant but somber light, the feeling of
abandonment and the textured detail of the aging architecture of
the facility give us an eerie sense of the presence of its former
Eastern State Penitentiary (though in ruins) is operated as a museum
and it has become a major tourist attraction
in Philadelphia. The artist states that "in those ruins you can
still feel a presence similar to what the prisoners, themselves, must
in the 1800s.
experience the sense of loneliness, hopelessness, and search for religion,
that must have driven so many of the spirits trapped within its walls." By
including reproductions of several Penitentiary manuscripts from the
1800s, Kunsman hopes to provide a historical context
for viewers, but the real focal points of the exhibit are sure to be
own words and the Penitentiary’s environment as captured in Kunsman’s
luminous, mysterious photographs.