The Primacy of the Everyday
Kerry James Marshall responds radically to the quasi-absence of black people in art by developing a depiction of them. His monumental print Untitled, 1998-1999 offers a peaceful everyday life scene. In the center of the composition, there is a company of six people conversing in the living room. The group of people is conditional, it's unclear who they are and why they are together, and it seems like it doesn't matter: the image stretches far behind this scene showing walls cutaway of the block house they’re in.
The piece itself is fragmented into twelve wooden panels and each part of the print could be perceived as a separate artwork. The viewer has an illusion of control over the print, sliding from left to right, from one part of the painting to another, and choosing what to look at. The painting has its own rhythm built by depicting spacial pauses which brings a cinematic dramaturgy of the one-shot filming. By giving so much attention to, from first sight, unnecessary details such as walls cutaway, the artist makes this artwork routine and even more about everyday domestic comfort.
A peaceful scene from the everyday life depicted by Marshall is both calming and disquieting in understanding of its inaccessibility. Being incapable to reach lost stability of the peacetime, the only thing one can do is notice the manifestations of beauty in everyday existence, to stay human being able to see the glimmer of hope.