The opening and exhibit at Chicago’s Suburban Gallery on Sept. 23 of Marie and Kelly Poe’s art was a grand success on several levels. To see the development of Marie’s painting from rudimentary to fine acrylic work during her imprisonment was particularly rewarding, but all of them contain a power born of her circumstances. Some are displayed on her website.
Our large “FREE MARIE” banner was hung on the gallery exterior wall in Oak Park, Ill. which greeted those attending the opening.
Added to this was Kelly’s photography and a single issue book she created. Neither word adequately describes what was exhibited. In 2006, Kelly began communicating with several imprisoned people serving long sentences for acts of eco-sabotage including Marie. She asked each of them, what place did they visualize during their incarceration which helped keep them sane?
After several years of writing back and forth, Kelly set out on a photographic journey to capture those images for six prisoners including Marie’s whose was a setting sun viewed from Empire, Michigan. The photo includes a post-sunset green flash seen frequently over Lake Michigan. Kelly had the photo transferred by a wallpaper outfit to a huge 8’X17’ pigment photo mural that almost sucks one into the sunset when you enter the gallery.
Also, Kelly constructed a 20″ x 24″ archival pigment printed and hand bound artist’s book weighing 30 pounds containing reproductions of her correspondence with the prisoners and assorted documents relevant to their cases or imprisonment.
Marie’s work was presented on a specially constructed display rack that Kelly commissioned and gave a sweep of her art in a relatively small space even though there were over 30 paintings. Each of them was on the back side of letters Marie had written to people from jail and were donated for the exhibit. Hence, none of them were more than 8”X11” in size.
The exhibition runs through the end of October at the gallery: 125 North Harvey Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302 – Telephone: (708) 305-2657. See http://www.thesuburban.org/present.html.