Marshall records the details of the African-American life the he knows. He poses his subjects carefully, drawing from a perspective acquired through years of personal observation. In Marshall's own words, "You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and grow up in South Central [Los Angeles] near the Black Panthers headquarters, and not feel like you’ve got some kind of social responsibility." This is apparent in the work on view in The Art Blog at Episcopal Cafe. In "Watts 1963," Marshall bases each figure on someone that he knows. The figures are fixed, frozen mid-breath within the larger panorama of a canvas that seems to move through time and decay oblivious to the presence of its human inhabitants.
In "Souvenir II" the artist populates a family living room with everyday heroes, personal, civic, social, and musical. Clouds filled with personal saints hover above a sole woman bringing flowers to honor memories and keep vigil over the past. Marshall preserves this moment in time for the future. Marshall brings the audience's attention to what is important to him: the older woman (grandmother?) keeping memories alive, the champions and martyrs of the cvil rights movements, and the nameless faces known only to him in the depths of his own heart.
On View above and on the homepage in the masthead: "Souvenir II", 1997. Acrylic, paper, collage, and glitter on unstretched canvas, 108 x 120 inches. Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. Image courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and Art:21 PBS.
On View above and on the homepage in the above Daily Episcopalian and Speaking to the Soul: "Watts 1963", 1995. Acrylic and collage on unstretched canvas, 114 x 135 inches. St. Louis Museum of Ar, Museum Minority Artists Purchase Fund. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and Art:21 PBS.