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The Death Row Drawings


The point of departure for this series was the concept of the unimaginable reality of knowing the exact time and place when ones life would end. This lead me to an investigation of those on death row. Since Canada had abolished capital punishment in 1976, my research focused entirely on the men and women who had been executed in the United States from 1976 - 2006.  Working from the photographs that I could find and the stories that I found both horrific and moving, these drawings were made on gessoed plywood- a humble material that would acknowledge the inevitable and perhaps anonymous destination for those executed - a pine box. 

This installation  examines the implications for the disenfranchised, the outcast, and the criminal among us - some of whom may seem repulsive on first glance. I discovered that which was initially frightening, shocking and difficult became, with time and intense scrutiny, utterly compelling. 

I am indebted to the writings of journalist David Von Drehle in Among The Lowest Of The Dead, © 1995, amongst others for his thorough and moving account into the lives of death row inmates.

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