"You can wait for somebody to let you get in the door- or you can assume your place among equals and put yourself in the world too, and put yourself in the stories that you want to see told"
KERRY JAMES MARSHALL
Finding your place in the world takes a long time. In fact, I believe it takes a lifetime; especially if we push ourselves to continue learning and evolving. However, reading the statement by artist Kerry James Marshall took me back to my time studying at the Royal College of Art.
It was a time when I was actively asking questions and looking for my place in the world and one where, to the annoyance of my tutors, I didn't always listen, or claim my space. I distinctly recall one of my tutors stating to me that he felt I had something important to say and he didn't know why I wouldn't say it... That's a pretty impressive thing to hear at the age of 23 and one that I didn't really agree with at the time or understand. It took me quite a few years to begin to grasp his meaning, years beyond the scope of my Masters to fully take on board what he saw in me that I, at the time didn't. However, with that change there came an evolution in the work I produced and a better understanding of the work I felt was missing in the world.
Why do I say this now, in conjunction with showing the beautifully detailed work of Birmingham, Alabama born Mr. Marshall?
Many of us still believe in the myth of the lone genius, and as artist Austin Kleon states
"If you believe in the lone genius myth, creativity is an antisocial act, performed by only a few great figures — mostly dead men with names like Mozart, Einstein, or Picasso. The rest of us are left to stand around and gawk in awe at their achievements."
I am not one to stand and gawk, and I'm not holding my breath in being labelled a genius either. The inspiration and energy which goes in to producing my own work is not one that stands alone. It is an organic entity which grows and responds to the myriad of ideas being produced now by my creative contemporaries.
The words of Kerry James Marshall, as much as the stunning work itself, lays a foundation stone for thoughts and ideas to grow within my own practice. Sharing with you here a few examples of his work, I hope you find the value in this measured works.
Kerry James Marshall is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery and is currently showing in, Kerry James Marshall: MASTRY on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago through September 25, 2016