Nevertheless, I persist, trying to make pictures that inscribe black existential realities without sacrificing a sense of majesty. I'm driven by a desire to meaningfully provoke others' curiosity, to paint without cynicism. I still believe in mastery; in the service of imagination it can exceed the limitations of circumstance."

In his large, figurative paintings, generally made in acrylic on unstretched canvas, as well as in his smaller iconic portraits, Kerry James Marshall engages symbolism and allegory to depict aspects of African-American history and folklore. Surfaces are often collaged with drawing paper which create a subtle but discernible grid; placed on top of the painted areas, they reinforce the flatness of the picture plane and disrupt the narrative continuity. Marshall's figures, stylized representations of the Black cultural body, are always painted jet-black.

Born 1955, Birmingham, Alabama
Lives in Chicago

1978 B.F.A., Otis Art Institute

1993 Associate Professor of Art, University of Illinois at Chicago

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1997 Addison Gallery of American Art, Philips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
1995 "The Garden Project," Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
1995 Greg Kuchera Gallery, Seattle
1994-95 "Telling Stories: Selected Paintings," organized by The Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, exhibition traveling to 4 sites
1993 Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
1993 Koplin Gallery, Santa Monica
1992 "Terra Incognita," Chicago Cultural Center
1991, 85 Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles
1986 The Studio Museum in Harlem; Artist in Residence Exhibition
1984 Pepperdine University Art Gallery , Malibu
1983 James Turcotte Gallery, Los Angeles
1981 "Kerry Marshall A Survey," L.A. Southwest College Art Gallery, Los Angeles

Selected Group Exhibitions

1997 Whitney Biennial
1997 Documenta X, Kassel, Germany
1995 "No Doubt: African American Art of the 90's," Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT

1996 Civtella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship
1996 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art
1993 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
1992 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship
1991 National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Arts Fellowship
1985 Studio Museum in Harlem Resident Fellowship