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Geoffrey James, Inner Entrance to the Compound

Geoffrey James, Inner Entrance to the Compound (2013), archival inkjet print [Glenbow, Calgary AB, Feb 14-May 17]

Geoffrey James: Inside Kingston Penitentiary

Glenbow
Calgary AB – Feb 14-May 17, 2015

Until its closure in 2013, Kingston Penitentiary was home to some of Canada’s most notorious convicts. Yet, after 178 years on the shores of Lake Ontario, the prison’s visual record was vastly under-represented given its place in the national imagination.

When photographer Geoffrey James was asked by the Calgary Herald what attracted him to the prison as a subject, he replied, “Its age and essential mysteriousness. The prison system is not that transparent. They don’t let people in.”

The result of James’s six-month study is a range of startling colour and black-and-white pictures that detail KP’s last days. On display are numerous instances of the architecture of incarceration, with its endless fencing and panopticonic views, but also of those “doing time” within its cells, common rooms, kitchens and prison yards.

In addition to James’s prison pictures is The Lethbridge Project, a 1999 work commissioned by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. For those who are chilled by prison imagery, this show might provide a tonic. According to the Glenbow, these pictures “characterize Lethbridge as a prairie experience that is part mythic and part ordinary.”

Michael Turner

Geoffrey James, Change of Seasons Ceremony

Geoffrey James, Change of Seasons Ceremony (2013), archival inkjet print [Glenbow, Calgary AB, Feb 14-May 17]

Geoffrey James, The Dome from Above
Geoffrey James, The Dome from Above (2013), archival inkjet print [Glenbow, Calgary AB, Feb 14-May 17]


 Tue, Apr 7, 2015