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Kerry James Marshall, Our Town

Kerry James Marshall, Our Town (1995), acrylic and printed paper collage on canvas [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, May 8-Jan 3, 2011] Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Kerry James Marshall

Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver BC – May 8-Jan 3, 2011

Kerry James Marshall, Portrait of a Curator

Kerry James Marshall, Portrait of a Curator (In Memory of Beryl Wright) (2009), acrylic on pvc [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, May 8-Jan 3, 2011] Collection of Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert

Kerry James Marshall is a prominent American artist well-known for portrayals of African-American people that are both affectionate and political. Graphic layers of overpainting, text and symbols lend a decorative element to the works, which combine acrylic, collage, and glitter on fibreglass and PVC, or on canvasses often more than 10-feet wide.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Marshall grew up in South Central Los Angeles and now lives in Chicago. He earned his BFA at the Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles and for many years taught at the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Formative years living in Watts, observing the Black Power and Civil Rights movements, led to the development of his signature style of narrative paintings featuring black figures. Using themes of domestic life, urban environments and popular culture, he confronts racial stereotypes by positioning his figures in settings that emphasize historic injustices and racism.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is exhibiting 19 pieces Marshall has created since the 1990s. Paintings of public housing are covered with graffiti-like gestures that seem to negate the governments’ efforts. Souvenir paintings from the late '90s, dedicated to the American Civil Rights Movement, are overlaid with silkscreened images of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and John and Bobby Kennedy. Vignettes are idyllic images of couples set in 18th century-like pastoral scenes – settings from which black people were clearly missing at the time.

Photo: 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.

www.vanartgallery.bc.ca

Mia Johnson

Kerry James Marshall, Better Homes, Better Gardens

Kerry James Marshall, Better Homes, Better Gardens (1994), acrylic and collage on unstretched canvas [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, May 8-Jan 3, 2011]

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (2008), acrylic on fiberglass [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, May 8-Jan 3, 2011] Courtesy the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY

Kerry James Marshall, Souvenir I

Kerry James Marshall, Souvenir I (1997), acrylic and glitter on canvas banner [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, May 8-Jan 3, 2011] Collection Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Bernice and Kenneth Newberger Fund


 Sun, Jun 6, 2010