Art can be offensive. Surely, if it’s honest on some levels in reference to specific periods in time, it will be architecturally subversive – that is, to simultaneously demolish one archetype while constructing another – and necessarily so. This, without exception. The fine works of Kerry James Marshall live and breathe to illustrate this philosophy by breathing truth into life through color on canvass. True story: “Embedded in imagery is a narrative of change and transformation,” says Marshall, whose latest retrospective of renowned paintings such as Smashing are on display in his “Mastry” exhibit at The Met Breuer gallery through January 29, 2017.
WORDS TONE SWEP
“I decided early on that you have to be able to see evidence that I experienced pleasure, that I experienced pain, that I have desires, that I’m aware of history, that I’m a political creature, that I am also a social creature,” he openly and eloquently explains, concluding: “That’s what it means to be a complete human being.” As with any existence experience rooted in humanity, one can at times feel the shackling societal noose tightening around their neck… below, their sweat dampened flat feet climb over each other in a continuous survival effort to avoid sliding off the saddle of the oppressor’s pony…. the shiftless, lazy, and thus task-assigned jackass whose growing impatience with standing indefinitely to await the outcome of your ill-fated failing fall or escape to living legend is a finite stint at best. It’s climb up or fall off, be honest. The stand still won’t stand the test of borrowed time. Even a proverbially lynched Black life is often crime seen as loitering, so you still can’t hang around here… forever. ♚