Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CHEERS: Kerry James Marshall Delivers A Stunner at Zwirner Gallery in London

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Rapunzel), 2014, Acrylic on PVC panel, 24 x 30 inches. Image via 
Text | Andrew Russeth for
Published | October 13, 2014

Just how good is Kerry James Marshall’s show at David Zwirner in London’s Mayfair district? So good that the second I left today I began plotting the next time that I could sneak out of the Frieze Art Fair this week to give it another view. Plenty of shows open here in the coming days, and there are plenty more that I have yet to see, but so far Marshall’s seems like the most exciting one in town. People are talking about it.
Titled Look See,” this is his first solo appearance in London since 2005, and his first show with Zwirner. He has delivered a knockout. Fifty-nine on Friday, he has hung 14 new paintings, most of solitary people, who are posing for a screen, or for themselves, or even for you. The mood is intimate, erotic, and occasionally voyeuristic. They may make you uncomfortable—like you are peering in on a private moment—but you will not want to look away.
These are formidable, alluring objects, painted on thick PVC panels. Their surfaces are flat, but the brushstrokes, patterning, and color they contain are luscious. The subject of Untitled (Sofa Girl) (all works 2014), for instance, reclines alone on Daniel Buren-striped fabric, cloaked in a deep-blue-purple-black darkness, remote in hand, watching a television set that is just out of view, but which casts a slight glow over room. She has short hair, a facial expression that is a rare mixture of exhausted, amazed, and dazed—the face of insomnia-induced TV binges (a rare sight in art, but one you have felt)—and an adorable, very sleepy cat. It is an incredible painting, complex but immediate.
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