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date: 10 April 2020

Marshall, Kerry James locked

Extract

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 17 October 1955, in Birmingham (Alabama).

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, engraver, collage artist, installation artist, photographer, video artist. Figures, portraits.

Kerry James Marshall grew up in South Central Los Angeles and studied at the Otis Art Institute, receiving a PhD in 1999. He lives in Chicago and teaches at the University of Illinois.

Marshall’s work centres on popular African-American culture. The skin tone of his figures is unapologetically black as a statement against the negative perceptions which are still attached to this colour and to denote the 1960s popular and activist black aesthetics, which embraced all expressions of African-American culture. Marshall’s politically charged work aims to give substance to a social vision. In Memento #5 (2003), he aims to preserve the memory of Civil Rights movement heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Malcolm X. His intensely black-skinned figures contrast and enrich the colourful backgrounds that Marshall adapts from such modern masters as Matisse. His compelling and complex images reference black folk art and aim to counter the stereotypical representations of black people in Western painting....

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