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Kerry James Marshall American

Not on view

In Marshall’s powerful allegory of painting, an artist sits holding her oversize palette, turned away from an unfinished self-portrait on her easel. The painting within a painting—or, more precisely, the painting about painting—is a time-honored motif taken up by many of the greatest artists in the Western tradition to which Marshall now contributes. But he has given this theme a twist by presenting the unfinished portrait as a paint-by-number composition. The numerical indications give the viewer the means to participate and complete the painting. Marshall’s concerns with the question of finish date to the beginning of his career, when the varying states of objects in the Los Angeles studio of the painter Charles White caught his attention.

Untitled, Kerry James Marshall (American, born Birmingham, Alabama, 1955), Acrylic on PVC panel

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