The musings of a landscape painter, art teacher, and art history lover
Contemporary painter, Kerry James Marshall (born October 17, 1955) paints the dignity and beauty of black culture and the pursuit of the American dream.
I am a big fan of Kerry James Marshall (born October 17, 1955) and believe he stands as one of the greatest painters of our time. I first saw his artwork in Washington, D.C. back in the late '90s and was stunned with his mastery of painting. His paintings are both precise and loose at the same time. Marshall allows for drips and rough strokes, but then dials in his portraits with tight traditional painting techniques. There is also a strong sense of contrast between his often brightly lit scenes and the dark tones he uses for his figures.
Marshall paints the history of black culture in a way that has never been done before. His subjects (all black) go about their daily lives with dignity, humor, and civility as they pursue the American dream. One will quickly notice, however, that the settings are not always pristine, there is a sense of decay, graffiti, or just urban clutter about his backgrounds. His paintings reveal the grit and truth of being black in America, but also a sense of hope and pride.
Author: Bruce Black
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