The woodcut unfolds in a cinematic progression from left to right, taking us from a bird’s-eye view of a suburban grid, past the façade of a building adorned with a window box of flowers, and into an apartment where six black men casually socialize in a pink-walled living room. The scene is plain in nature and quiet in tenor.
“All my life I’ve been expected to acknowledge the power and beauty of pictures made by white artists that have only white people in them; I think it’s only reasonable to ask other people to do the same vis-à-vis paintings that have only black figures in them. That is part of the counter-archive that I’m seeking to establish in my work.” -Kerry James Marshall¹
Marshall goes on to make a subtle qualification to the notion of a counter-archive: “In fact . . . my work is not an argument against anything; it is an argument for something else.”²
The year Marshall completed the work, he noted that in contrast to images that present African American men “as somehow threatening, somehow violent, somehow irresponsible, somehow nihilistic and alienated,” he wanted “to show that representations of African Americans can be incredibly mundane, that they can be ordinary and they don’t have to be event-filled or anxiety-laden or about political activism. They can just be a picture. Period.”³
By emphasizing the mundane over the remarkable, Marshall creates a picture with which his viewers are likely familiar and into which they can easily project themselves. This invitation is reiterated in the work’s size and the scale of the imagery, which relates to that of a human body and thus allows for a physical correspondence between the viewer and the figures.
Source : https://medium.com/cma-thinker/kerry-james-marshall-emphasizing-the-mundane-over-the-remarkable-ab0ce46e7964Thanks you for read my article ‘Kerry James Marshall: Works On Paper’ At Cleveland Museum Of Art