By Dorota Kozinska

 
This is the first time that American artist Kerry James Marshall is showing in this city. He is presenting a new chapter from his "Rythm Mastr" comic strip project, an installation of works displayed in lightboxes.

Seven new pieces are part of this exhibition, a continuation of a storyboard featuring an urban hero battling the forces of evil.

The underlying message is one of race and cultural appropriation, for Marshall's visual language speaks to the African-American experience, its culture and art history.

Over the past thirty-five years, he has produced a complex body of work, from painting and sculpture to comic strips.

His social commentary is prescient and contemporary, thus guaranteeing both appreciation and understanding.
Kerry James Marshall(lien externe)
A new work by the American artist,
presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
as part of BNLMTL 2016, The Grand Balcony
Contemporary Art Square, Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion – Level S2
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Sherbrooke St W
Montreal, QC
October 19, 2016, to January 29, 2017

Kerry James Marshall. Photo: Felix Clay. Courtesy of David Zwirner, London
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Installation view, Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, MCA Chicago, 23 avril-25 septembre 2016. Photo Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago

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The "Rythm Mastr" series begun in 1999, first as an installation and then as a conceptual project titled "Dailies", comprising three cartoon strips: Rhythm Mastr, P-Van- and On the Stroll.

These overlapping comics all take place in ‘Black Metropolis’ – the long dreamed-of capital of the ‘Black World’ – and are written in Black vernacular English.

In the words of the artist, they "provide a vehicle for talking about all manner of subjects."

The use of a comic book format allows for an easy, not to say facile, reading of Marshall's oeuvre, but the narrative is not all that is there to enjoy.

What captivates the viewer at the outset is the quality of his craftsmanship, his mastery of the medium, the beauty of the lines.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955, Marshall lives and works in Chicago. A multi-media artist, he has been exhibiting his diverse art internationally.

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Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (detail), 2016. Photo: MMFA/Jean-François Brière ©Kerry James Marshall. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
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