Gil Batle is an American artist who spent over 20 years in Californian prisons for fraud and forgery. He endured some of the state’s most infamous facilities, including San Quentin, Chuckawalla, and Jamestown, living in racially segregated conditions under the constant threat of gang violence. During that time, Gil’s astounding ability to draw and tattoo with extreme precision gave him an esteemed reputation among the inmates, thus protecting him from harm and intimidation.
In an exhibition titled “Hatched in Prison,” which will be featured at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in New York from November 5th–January 9th, 2016, Batle presents viewers with a fascinating, sensitive, and detailed glimpse into the hardship and abuse endured in prison by carving these experiences onto the surfaces of ostrich eggs. Brutal images of isolation, beatings from security guards, and chain gangs cover the delicate, ivory-colored surfaces. Barbed wire, gang symbols, and shivs create an ominous symmetry.
In this unique medium, Batle reveals scenes that are usually hidden away from the public eye. There is a special significance to carving trauma onto an egg—an object which Ricco/Maresca’s press release describes as “nature’s most perfect creation and manifestation of life and birth” (Source); Batle’s creations seem to convey vulnerability as well as a sense of hope, renewal, and redemption.
Visit Ricco/Maresca to learn more.