Prison Dreams, Nocturnal Butterflies and 4th St.

It’s not often that those who spend everyday taking freedom for granted get a chance to see the dreams of a caged human being spilled out right in front of them. And for those locked in our nation’s penitentiaries, those dreams can be simultaneously sexual and sacred. In the artwork of real life prison inmates presented in the Prison Dreams Exhibit at the Orange County Center of Contemporary Art, the perception of the feminine enigma is elevated higher than most can imagine. To some inmates, who sketched and painted their fantasies of tattoo, pin-up goddesses, the sexuality of a woman is larger than life. Walking through the exhibition drenched in a mixture of color and shadow, visitors will see just how much power the fairer sex a has in the mind of a prisoner. It’s a far cry from the images of used-up, desperate prostitutes created by painter Gregg Stone. Stone, whose devastatingly real pieces hang side by side with prison artists, used real life Tijuana prostitutes as inspiration for his works that expose the parallel similarities and differences between a prisoner’s fantasy and the seedy side of sexuality that waits outside the prison walls.
Thursdays-Sundays, noon. Starts: June 4. Continues through June 28, 2009

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