Kerry James Marshal at the Vancouver Art Gallery

May 8, 2010 § 4 Comments

I had the privilege of being one of the first to see Kerry James Marshall‘s works on his first exhibition in Canada. The show opens to the public today at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the preview last night had the additional treat of Kerry James Marshall himself doing the guided tour. In a half-hour talk, the American artist went through his reasons for being an artist and comments on a few of the twenty paintings on display at the VAG. He mentioned his memory of a first visit to an art museum as a kid and his surprise of not seeing any black people represented. He set out to correct that imbalance and dedicated the last 25 years of his life to celebrate blackness in paintings that range from housing projects (below) and romantic scenes to portraits. An all-black painting at the far end of the gallery has been haunting me since last night.
Kerry James Marshall, ‘Our Town’, 1995

Put aside a few hours when visiting the VAG: besides Kerry James Marshall, the gallery is showing Fiona Tan‘s works from the past three years including Rise and Fall, a new two-channel film installation commissioned by the Vancouver Art Gallery specifically for the exhibition.

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