Collages, large scale paintings, drawings and prints from the 1970s to the present day. The exhibition draws upon a wide range of sources such as African-American history, literature, films, music and comic books, as well as Western art history and classical mythology to create what has been described as 'a meditation on black aesthetics'.
Along the Way
Kerry James Marshall’s first solo show in the UK comes to The New Art Gallery Walsall 12 May to 2 July 2006. The exhibition presents collages, large scale paintings, drawings and prints from the 1970s to the present day. The exhibition draws upon a wide range of sources such as African-American history, literature, films, music and comic books, as well as Western art history and classical mythology to create what has been described as ‘a meditation on black aesthetics’.
Marshall's principal subject is the black figure, which he injects into the mainstream of Western painting where previously it had been peripheral. The issue of racial representation and in particular, invisibility, first emerged in his early collage works, leading to paintings such as Two Invisible Men Naked (1985), whilst stylised portrayals of black beauty are presented in a series of paintings from the early 90s, among them Blue Water Silver Moon (Mermaid) (1991) and So This is What you Want? (1992).
Marshall's paintings erupt with an explosion of narratives and textures, interweaving aspects of art history, American history and popular culture, as well as Western art history and classical mythology, to create what has been described as a ‘meditation on black aesthetics’.
Marshall is a profoundly knowledgeable art-historian whose references and interests range from French nineteenth-century history painting to the art of the Renaissance period. The Lost Boys series of portraits of young males addresses the tragedy of gang warfare, the boys’ heads surrounded by both halos, suggestive of medieval icons, and graffiti. Similarly, the murdered icons of the Black Civil Rights movement are commemorated in the elegiac Souvenir paintings from the late 90s.
Kerry James Marshall, Along The Way is curated by Deborah Smith and organised by Camden Arts Centre in association with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, The New Art Gallery Walsall and Modern Art Oxford.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication available with texts by Luc Tuymans and Valerie Cassel Oliver and an interview with the artist by Deborah Smith.
Notes to Editor:
Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955, Kerry James Marshall now lives and works in Chicago, USA. He was educated at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, from which he received a BFA, and an honorary doctorate in 1999. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in exhibitions such as DocumentaX (1997), Carnegie International (1999), Postcards from Black America: Contemporary African American Art (1998). Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (2004), One True Thing: Mediations on Black Aesthetics touring exhibition organised by The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2003-2005). In 1997 Marshall was awarded a John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Prize.
The New Art Gallery Walsall
Gallery Square - Walsall