Some two million people are currently incarcerated in the United States. In an era of hyper accessibility—where thanks to Google View and social media anyone remotely wired seems to have access to everyplace and everyone at all times—this situation poses a startling and unbreachable barrier. Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge has found a disarmingly old-fashioned way to bridge it. The artist wrote letters to inmates, asking them to send her descriptions of the spaces in which they live and those they dream about. In return, she gave them photographs inspired by their words. Published in a compendium titled “Wall + Paper,” Leblanc-Roberge reveals a twist: her pictures are odder than expected. To a prisoner who wrote of creating comfort wherever he lands, she offers an image of a snow angel. For a palatial interior, she presents birds dispersed in a storm-clouded sky. Jail locks down the body in space, but Leblanc-Roberge’s project insists on the freedom still afforded to the spirit and the intellect.
—Lori Waxman 11/12/16 11:36 AM