The United States is reported to be the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails—a 500% increase over the past thirty years. Elizabeth Duffy: Maximum Security considers perceived ideas about security and poses questions about our culture of surveillance and incarceration.
Duffy appropriates Data Protection Patterning found on the inside of security envelopes to create patterned fabric, wallpaper, and related prints. Observing a connection between prison design and traditional quilt patterns, she has created a series of quilt tops based on aerial views of prison complexes. These quilts combine traditional quilting materials with prison uniforms and the Data Protection Patterning fabric she has designed. The artist states: “By making works that meld homespun process with information hidden from the public sphere, I am drawing attention to our society’s increasing erosion of private space and our collective comfort in incarcerating a significant percentage of our population.”