Carol Jacobsen: Mistrial

February 3 - March 5, 2011

Denise Bibro Fine Art presents Carol Jacobsen: Mistrial, on view February 3rd through March 5th, 2011, in our Platform project space. Co-Sponsored by Amnesty International, the exhibition encompasses large-scale photography and video installation exploring issues of women’s criminalization.

Selected and enlarged from the artist’s own archive of original 8” x 10” news photographs, the images displayed in Mistrial document the arrests and murder trials of women in the early 20th century. Visually reminiscent of 17th century painting, some of the photographs emanate the delicate light of Dutch interiors, while others conjure the dramatic chiaroscuro of Italian Baroque portraits. Accompanying each photograph is its original news caption, as well as a brass plate engraved with a judicial quote from a corresponding contemporary murder trial. The eerie juxtaposition creates a poignant critique of concepts of justice and gender which persist through time.

The sense of temporality in the photographs is conveyed in the video installation
through the spatial journey of the camera’s movement. The camera moves from the
outside of a woman’s prison, and travels inward, first depicting the circles of razor wire surrounding the prison, and finally ending deep inside the darkest cells of the segregation unit. Narrated by women inmates, the video portrays an intimate and personal narrative, as well as a highly-charged political challenge to current punishment regimes.

Together, the images in the exhibition link the eras of the Wall Street crash, the Great Depression and the recent global economic crisis, conveying a resonant sense of timelessness.

Jacobsen’s work has been shown internationally, and has been co-sponsored by
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. She has received awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, Women in Film Foundation, Paul Robeson Foundation, and Art Matters. Jacobsen’s essays have appeared in Hastings Women’s Law Journal, New York Law Review, Signs Journal, and Art in America. A professor at the University of Michigan, she also directs Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project, a grassroots effort for freedom, human rights, and civil rights for women prisoners. She is represented exclusively by Denise Bibro Fine Art.