The Brotherhood of Invention

Few art critics would speak of prison art when they’re talking about the Old Masters, but artist Carol Strick has no such inhibitions. As passionate about art as she is about prison reform, Strick is showing the art world a new kind of master while bringing “the prisoners’ existence – and plight – to the public’s attention.”

Speaking with Cindy Burda in Mountain Xpress, Strick explains that she has always been concerned about the poor quality of prisons, and the loneliness from the loss of her husband led her to reply to an ad for inmate pen pals. Her pen pals began sending her art they had assembled from whatever materials they could scrounge up: wet toilet paper, dye from M&M’s and magazines, human hair for brushes.

“I had never seen anything so beautiful–and I’m an artist; I knew every picture in the Met,” Strick exclaims. She eventually took all the work sent to her and created an 8-by-10-foot collage, which went on exhibit in New York City. Since then, Strick has been organizing exhibits around the country, including Jail-House Visions, currently on view in Houston.
–Abbie Jarman
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