In Pen and Ink

They are unschooled, undisciplined, and often unpopular, but itís outsider artists like the convict who drew this who can sometimes shape mainstream culture

The Divine Proportion, a study of a male nude, is broken up and put back together with a series of angles that reflect the nude's raised leg. Noguera says that there is a measurement between the squares and angles that adds up to the "Number of God." This number, Noguera says, is the "perfect number, the number of every human being." The measurement of each human's hip to the floor, divided by the measurement between the floor and that same person's knee, is always the same. A clue to how to find this number is hidden in a poem written on the back of The Divine Proportion. Noguera's meticulous crafting of riddles and dots is a signature of his work, just like the bloody fingerprint he includes on the back of every original piece.

We describe outsiders as people who don't fit in, people outside of popular culture, people who make us feel uncomfortable. In prison terminology, an outsider is someone who's not locked up. William Noguera is an outsider on the "inside," creating cutting-edge art that would stand on its own even were it not crafted during hours crouched on a plastic bucket under dim institutional light.

"I know it sounds corny," says the Rev. Barber, "But to see him live from day to day as a human being, it's an occasion to restore your faith in the survival of the human spirit. The work he does holds onto his humanity. That's why he does it."

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