Along The Way
In his first UK solo touring exhibition Kerry James Marshall presents a survey of work from the late 1970s to the present day including early collages, drawings, prints and ambitious large-scale paintings which address issues of racial representation by interweaving narratives of art history, society, culture and politics.
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.
Along the Way is the first solo exhibition in the UK by American artist Kerry James Marshall. The show focuses on Marshall’s paintings, collages, prints, drawings and sculptures from the late 1970s to the present. These works combine African-American history and popular culture with influences from Western art history.
‘I am on a mission of a sort, which has to do with the position of African-American artists within the narrative of art history.’
At an early age, Marshall was struck by the absence of black representation in museum collections. Influenced and taught by the artist Charles White, he decided to reduce his figures to ‘their essential presence as black’ in order to secure a more prominent position for black artists within the discourse of art history. The resulting images fuse painterly and conceptual approaches to image-making. Classical forms and techniques are combined with contemporary themes to create what has been described as ‘a meditation on black aesthetics’.
Marshall’s work draws on a rich layering of language and culture, interweaving narratives from art history, society and politics. Working representationally, Marshall injects his subject - the black figure - into the canon of Western art history, where it has previously been peripheral.
His use of cultural symbolism and pictorial devices is informed by his experiences of the world and his avid collecting of artefacts from African and African-American history, art and literature; classical mythology; folklore; film history; posters and comic books. The resulting paintings erupt with an explosion of narratives and textures, linking aspects of art history and American history with reference to the American Civil Rights Movement, the history of slavery, public housing projects, the modern welfare state, social reform and literature, as well as cyclic narratives of birth, death, life and love.
Kerry James Marshall was born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama. He lives and works in Chicago, USA. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in exhibitions such as DocumentaX (1997), Carnegie International (1999), Postcards from Black America: Conemporary African American At (1998). Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (2004), One True Thing: Mediaions on Black Aesthetics (2005) 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.
Deborah Smith is an independent curator based in London, UK.
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 supported by Art Council England National Touring and The Andy Warhol Foundation.
Click here to view all Library and Archive entries for Kerry James Marshall.
There are no related items for this exhibition