Artist Amy Elkins

Amy Elkins at the Houston Center of Photography 2015.

Due to the weather close on Tues. Feb 09, Amy Elkins’s lecture has been rescheduled to Thursday Feb 11, at Derthick Hall, down the street from the Fine Arts Center, 5:30 p.m, followed by the opening reception.


As part of the Diane Marek Visiting Artist series, the Cress Gallery will exhibit award winning artist Amy Elkins’ art February 9 – March 24. Cress Gallery is free and open to the public 9:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Click here for more information about visitor parking.

Elkins will present a public lecture in UTC’s Derthick Hall room 101 at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9. The public is also invited to join Elkins and the Art Department for a reception in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center following the lecture.

The visiting artist began her project featuring death row inmates after stumbling on calls for penpals online. With her curiosity piqued she began conversations, some that would continue for years with inmates through letters.

“The men I wrote with spent an average of 22-1/2 hours a day in solitary cells roughly 6’x9’; not only facing their own mortality, but doing so in total isolation.  I often wondered how that would impact one’s notion of reality, of self-identity or even of their own memories outside of such an environment?  Did they embrace the mind of a dreamer, the mind of a thinker or succumb to their bleak environment and allow mental, physical and emotional collapse?  Did their violent impulses land them in an infinite state of vulnerability?” Elkins said.

Amy Elkins' painting, "Nine Years Out of a Death Row Sentence: Forest"Her correspondence with seven individuals inspired a portfolio of works ranging from landscapes of memories and places as described by the inmates, portraits of the individuals altered to represent their years spent in the system, and a haunting collection of executed inmates’ mugshots infused with their last words.

Ruth Grover, Director and Curator, Cress Gallery and Collections explained, “The faculty are excited to have her here on campus with our students because she’s out there doing this herself.”

The guest artist’s inspiring work introduces students to the life of an artist who is independently creating a successful career pursuing her passions.  

For more information about Amy Elkins visit her website here or check out Houston Center for Photography’s interview with her here. Check out the video of Elkins’ public lecture below.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.

Sarah is a staff writer in UTC's Office of Communications and Marketing.

Tagged with: