Another DON’T: Don’t Leap to Conclusions!

In a previous post, Unlocking the Gate of Dreams, I showcased a striking painting at the Yale University Art Gallery that was titled — UNTITLED:

Kerry James Russell

And this is what I said about it:  Another painting, by a painter of whom I’d never heard before, simply riveted me. Kerry James Russell, her name is. This is a detail of her large self-portrait, Untitled. Brilliant colors lighting up a blinding whiteness, stark velvety black of skin so powerfully there, a beam of energy emanating from the whites of the artist’s eyes transfixing the viewer — A photo can’t do justice to that effect, it has to be experienced. A strong woman, an intense woman, what would it be like to meet Kerry James Russell? What is she like? A wonderment.

Usually I look up people or places or subjects I feature, but in this case, I really didn’t want to. This was such a mysterious painting, it so captivated me, that I didn’t want to rush to shed light on the mystery. Untitled did seem an unusual title for a self-portrait, but hey, artists are entitled.  So I just went ahead with what seemed to me to be obvious, that this was a wonderful self-portrait by a black woman of immense power.


It’s possible that the unnamed black woman painter is all of that. She certainly looks it. But she didn’t paint THIS picture. First of all, in my haste I’d scribbled the name of the artist down wrong. It’s Kerry James Marshallnot Russell. Second, the first name fooled me. I’m used to female Kerry’s. This Kerry James Marshall is not the woman painter gazing at us. He is a painter, yes. But as you’ll find out when you click on the link above, he’s a male painter who’s 57 years old. He’s one of the most eminent artists in the US, based in Chicago, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant. The extraordinary velvety blackness is one of his signature effects, and adds power to the combined beauty and political content of his work.

Just because I’m ignorant and over-fond of leaping to conclusions is no reason for you to be misled. So now I hope I’ve cleared up my error, and cleared the way for all of us to discover more works by a very great painter indeed, Kerry James Marshall.

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25 Responses to Another DON’T: Don’t Leap to Conclusions!

  1. Great information………I so enjoyed looking at the painting again!


  2. Forgiven. whats in a name anyway? But I did check him/her (?) out 😉
    Apparently Mr. Russel/Marshall named several of his works “Untitled’ . But check out Frankenstein and his bride. They are very cool (not as eloquent a critique on art, but, I’ll leave that to you. 😀
    You get my drift.


  3. Sonel says:

    Very striking painting for sure T2T. I am glad you posted again. 😀 *hugs*


  4. mrscarmichaelmrscarmichael says:

    hahahaa – it’s still a great painting.


  5. Pauline says:

    Wondered why, when I googled Kerry James Russell, nobody of that name came up but thought you had inside info. Glad to see it all set to rights. This man’s paintings are amazingly stirring.


  6. CMSmith says:

    Thanks. I enjoyed the picture and the information. I’ll keep an eye out for his work now that you’ve introduced me.


  7. Patti Kuche says:

    Now we get the thrill of exploring more of his wonderful work!

    Just for the record Judith, I am a gold medallist when it comes to jumping to conclusions – sometimes it’s the only exercise I get!


    • Touch2Touch says:

      What you need is to have them add jumping to conclusions to the list of Olympics events!
      (I myself was rooting for snow shoveling as an event, mine wasn’t quantity, but oh my, was it ever quality!)


  8. well, this just gave us a chance to look at this painting again and that’s nothing but a plus! i did go and read up about him – yet somehow I’m disappointed he turned out to be a he! It’s a very powerful painting and I’m glad you found it, wrote about it and re-wrote about it!


  9. 2e0mca says:

    It remains a stunning piece of work Judith and I have made more than my share of assumptions over the years! 😉 More power to your elbow for correcting 🙂


  10. bhawnavij says:

    Thanks for sharing this. The painting is quite striking indeed. It has a feeling of Trompe L’oeil.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      What an interesting observation! Back I go to stare at it again —
      (BTW, bhawna, the comment box didn’t come up on your next to last post; dunno what I was doing wrong.)


  11. Still, a good change to show us all this amazing photo again! : )


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