Portraits and Abstraction

Mary DeWitt

pictured: As Yet, oil on board, 36″x48″, 2016

First Friday Opening Reception: 11/4 | 5pm – 7pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday | 12pm – 6pm

Painter Mary DeWitt’s portraits and videos shed light on the experiences of women serving life sentences in prison. See pieces from this ongoing series, as well as abstract works from a new series.

In the early to mid 1980’s, Mary DeWitt received a BFA cum laude from Syracuse University, an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and completed study at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where she was awarded a full scholarship. Beginning in 1988, funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to teach painting to prisoners in the state correctional system, she developed a program with life-sentenced women to bring visibility to their plight by painting their portraits and recording their thoughts. Ongoing support from the Painted Bride Art Center and Leeway Foundation has helped this collaboration to continue over decades. Internet access opened new opportunity for global visibility of the women’s portraits and voices as DeWitt takes still pictures of developing portraits and combines them with women’s voices to create video portraits, published on YouTube, marydewitt.net , lifersontile.com and www.juvenilelifers.com

On the first floor of the gallery DeWitt will exhibit the most recent portraits and videos of life sentenced women, funded by Leeway Foundation. Exhibited on the second floor will be a new body of work, unrelated to the political paintings.


Brenda Watkins, oil and graphite on mylar, 36″x69″,  2016