Outburst: Mr. Wash

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Where

Palm Springs Art Museum

When

April 22, 2022 – July 3, 2022

Where

Palm Springs Art Museum

When

April 22, 2022 – July 3, 2022

Outburst Projects are small-format exhibitions that artists create following a month-long artist-residency at the Palm Springs Art Museum. The program is designed to support creative exploration, allowing artists to experiment with new bodies of work.

Outburst Projects are small-format exhibitions that artists create following a month-long artist-residency at the Palm Springs Art Museum. The program is designed to support creative exploration, allowing artists to experiment with new bodies of work.

Mr. Wash (Fulton Leroy Washington) is a self-taught artist who learned his craft while serving twenty years of a life sentence in prison for nonviolent drug offenses he did not commit. His first subjects were his fellow inmates, often depicted free and dressed in civilian clothing. 

Many of his paintings include elaborate allegorical elements. For example, he often depicts his subjects with large tears running down their faces to represent their inner life, the source of their pain and fears. 

In his painting Emancipation Proclamation (2014), made while still incarcerated, he depicted himself in prison clothing seated before President Barack Obama and his cabinet. Mr. Wash modeled this work after the historical oil painting First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln (1864) by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, which depicts Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet reviewing the document that freed the slaves. Mr. Wash credits his 2014 painting with attracting the attention of then-President Obama, who commuted his sentence and granted him clemency in 2016.

Born in 1954 in Tallulah, Louisiana, Mr. Wash lives and works in Compton, California.

Special thanks to Graeme Flegenheimer, curatorial advisor for the Outburst Program.

This season’s exhibitions are sponsored by the Herman & Faye Sarkowsky Charitable Foundation and Yvonne & Steve (in memoriam) Maloney.

Mr. Wash Talks Outburst

"Wrongfully convicted Louisiana-born artist Mr. Wash presents his work beginning March 31 at Palm Springs Art Museum during the Outburst residency program..."

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