Marshall's paintings depict primarily African-American figures, using formally diverse art historical methods that speak to the visibility and invisibility of 'blackness' in the history of western art. The exhibition presents approximately 20 paintings exemplary of Marshall's practice. 'Fiona Tan: Rise and Fall' features video installations and photographic series produced by this Amsterdam-based artist during the past three years.
Kerry James Marshall
curated by Kathleen S. Bartels and Jeff Wall
May 8, 2010 to January 3, 2011
The Vancouver Art Gallery is privileged to present the first Canadian solo exhibition of the work of Kerry James Marshall, a pre-eminent American painter working today. Marshall’s paintings depict primarily African-American figures, using formally diverse art historical methods that speak to the visibility and invisibility of “blackness” in the history of western art. The exhibition presents approximately 20 paintings exemplary of Marshall’s practice.
For Marshall, social responsibility means creating artworks that both celebrate and unravel the black experience in America. His Garden Projects is a series of vibrant urban scenes based on public housing projects on the South Side of Chicago and Watts, responding to the US government’s utopian, failed ideal of providing affordable housing to a growing population. The middle class living rooms in the Souvenir paintings of the late 1990s offer scenes made with a diversity of media and a certain meticulousness and restraint.
They represent aspects of the civil-rights struggles of the 1960s and include portraits of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., John and Bobby Kennedy and less identifiable characters alongside inscriptions memorializing other heroes and victims of this historical movement. The more recent Vignettes present idyllic images of black couples in sumptuous romantic landscapes reminiscent of eighteenth century Rococo paintings, inserting the black figure into an historical narrative in which they have traditionally been absent. Marshall’s twenty-five year practice is characterized by historically informed explorations of the representation of the black figure in pictorial space, and an investigation of the critical pretensions of the fine art establishment in which he participates.
Kerry James Marshall is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and co-curated by director Kathleen S. Bartels and artist Jeff Wall.
Fiona Tan - Rise and Fall
curated by Bruce Grenville
May 8 to September 6, 2010
Fiona Tan is internationally regarded for her films, videos and photographs and was highly acclaimed for her participation in the 2009 Venice Biennale’s Dutch Pavilion. Fiona Tan: Rise and Fall features video installations and photographic series produced by this Amsterdam-based artist during the past three years. This major exhibition is an unprecedented opportunity for North American audiences to view Tan’s powerful explorations of identity and belonging in a world increasingly shaped by global culture.
The exhibition marks a new trajectory for the artist and documents this important stage in Tan’s career. Although much of Tan’s earlier work focused on the use of found archival images, her recent projects involve the use of actors and location shooting. The works address her long-standing interest in the documentary image, both personal and public, and the role of memory and forgetting in the construction of identity. These ideas are represented in works that range in size and media, from framed photographs and drawings to monitor-scaled digital installations and theatrically-scaled projections.
An integral component of the exhibition is a new two-channel film installation commissioned by the Vancouver Art Gallery specifically for this exhibition. The new work, Rise and Fall, was filmed in Niagara Falls, Belgium and the Netherlands, constructing a narrative of isolation, loss and dislocation by using water as an evocative metaphor for the memories of a woman’s life.
Fiona Tan: Rise and Fall is co-organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau and curated by Bruce Grenville, senior curator, Vancouver Art Gallery.
Supported by the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.
Image: Kerry James Marshall, Better Homes, Better Gardens, 1994
acrylic and glitter on unstretched canvas
Denver Art Museum Collection, Funds from Polly and Mark Addison, the Alliance for Contemporary Art, Caroline Morgan, and Colorado Contemporary Collectors: Suzanne Farver, Linda and Ken Heller, Jan and Frederick Mayer, Beverly and Bernard Rosen, Annalee and Wagner Schorr, and anonymous donors
Photo: © Denver Art Museum
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