Sculptures from the Inside:
A Talk with Mark Francis and Matt Collinsworth

Mark Francis (American, b. 1960)  Self-Portrait , 2014. Papier-mâché and other media. Collection of the Kentucky Folk Art Center

Mark Francis (American, b. 1960) Self-Portrait, 2014. Papier-mâché and other media. Collection of the Kentucky Folk Art Center

Saturday, September 23, 2017
4 p.m.
$5 voluntary admission at the door
Free for Intuit Members

965 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL

Join us for a talk with artist Mark Francis, whose work is featured in Intuit's current exhibition Mark Francis: Sculptures from the Inside. Francis will discuss his life and work in an intimate conversation with Kentucky Folk Art Center Director Matt Collinsworth.

While incarcerated in the state of Kentucky, Mark Francis (b. 1960) created a series of graphic sculptures illustrating his new life “on the inside.” Francis, who was convicted of murder at the age of twenty-five, had suffered abuse as a child and struggled with addiction. He took an art appreciation course in prison, and shortly after began making sculptures out of materials such as toilet paper and shoe polish. Francis perfected the art of utilizing what was readily available to him in prison--constructing his own sculpting tools and papier-mâché paste. In the 1990s, he began making his series of caged figures (using mail-order wooden dowel rods), which grapple with the psychological impact of confinement and the harsh realities of prison life. His most complex sculpture, Prison Blues (2011) presents a diorama of daily life as viewed through prison jail cells.

Francis began exhibiting his work in 2004. This exhibition highlights eight examples of the artist’s work, created between 2003 and 2014, the year of his release. His sculptures often include references to time, physical confinement, and prison life – clocks, keyholes, barbed wire, rats, tattoos, and figures which nearly burst from their cells, or open themselves up to reveal their insides. Francis’ sculptures are psychological portraits that grapple with his identity as a prisoner, and bear witness to the inner struggle and anguish he experienced while incarcerated. Since his release, Francis has turned to new sources of inspiration in his work.

Special thanks to the Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University for its generous loans of Mark Francis artworks from its permanent collection.