press release

The Jack Shainman Gallery is proud to present a selection of recent drawings by Kerry James Marshall. Marshall’s traveling museum exhibition One True Thing: Meditations on Black Aesthetics opened last fall at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and is currently on view at the Miami Art Museum. At the center of One True Thing are a series of monumental paintings of urban scenes inspired by life on Chicago’s East Side and 17th century paintings of the Italian master Canaletto. Kerry James Marshall’s Drawings presents an independent series of large format ink drawings that developed out of the Rhythm Mastr project. Like the works in One True Thing, these new drawings reflect his involvement in the history of narrative painting and reflect Marshall’s interest in the multi-paneled structure of the comic book and the scenic and cinematographic devices of contemporary film. Purposefully ambiguous, the drawings present an encounter between a young black man and woman in a sequence of individual frames. The woman, in a white dress, approaches the man from behind speaking the words, “Everything’s going to be alright…I just know it will!” The frames, like those of 360-degree tracking shot, present the moment of their interaction from a variety of viewpoints, demonstrating the ambiguity of expression, as each isolated frame suggests a strikingly different mood and emotion. Each viewpoint registers a different degree of expression in the body language of the young man, in some his posture suggests fear, in others anger or sorrow. As the relative positions of the two figures change in each drawing our reading also shifts, forcing us to ask: Why is he always gazing into the distance? What is the reason for her reassurance? What is the man is reacting to? It is unclear if her words are meant to comfort his anger and pain or if those emotions are a reaction to her naïve hopes in the face of some greater danger. Kerry James Marshall was born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in Los Angeles. Mr. Marshall lives in Chicago where he has been a professor since 1993 at the School of Art and Design and the University of Illinois, Chicago. He received his BFA from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1978 and an honorary doctorate in 1999. In 1997 Marshall was awarded the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Marshall's work has been included in such group exhibitions as the 2003 Venice Biennale; 1999/2000 Carnegie International; the 1997 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Documenta X in Kassel, Germany in 1997. In 1998, Marshall's work was the subject of a major exhibition organized by the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago that traveled to such venues as the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston. He was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1985. In addition to his painting career, Marshall has been the production designer for the films Daughters of the Dust and Praise House directed by Julie Dash, Sankofa directed by Haile Gerima, and Hendrix Project directed by Arthur Jafa. His traveling exhibition, which opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, October 25-January 18, 2004, continues at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland through September 5, 2004, and will travel to The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, October 13, 2004-January 9, 2004 and the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, February 3-April 24, 2005.


Kerry James Marshall - Drawings