Everybody’s Autobiography

Everybody’s Autobiography: Robert Gober and Kerry James Marshall curated by Jessica Baran was the Center of Creative Arts‘ contribution to the SGCI conference in St. Louis. The show, while not huge in scale, made an impression.

The strength of the exhibition comes from the combination of two very different bodies of work. Gober’s colorful Highway wallpaper speaks to the banal and the everyday. While wallpaper makes its fair share of appearances in the art world, its origins lie in the applied arts- a utilitarian design object used as decoration. While there is mastery in the printing and application, Gober’s imagery seems consciously simplistic: quiet, happy roads moving through a green landscape under blue skies. The scene could be from a Highlights magazine. It could be anywhere.

In stark contrast, Kerry James Marshall’s black and white etchings reference the history of fine art printmaking. In his portraits, again we see mastery of printing but this time it’s through an age-old art media used by the likes of Rembrandt and Goya. Here’s a link to a PDF of a KJM Interview by Kenneth Caldwell that discusses some of Marshall’s goals and thoughts on the process. Where Gober’s work relates to the generic and universal, Marshall’s portraits capture specifics of an individual. And that juxtaposition is what makes this exhibition so captivating.

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Categories: Exhibitions

One Response to “Everybody’s Autobiography”

  1. Bevin Early says:

    One of my favorite shows of the SGC conference! Beautiful show by an incredibly thoughtful and sensitive curator.