And There Was War in Heaven
December 12, 2009
through January 9, 2010
NEW YORK, NY (November 12, 2009) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce And There Was War In Heaven, a solo exhibition of recent works by James Marshall, the artist more commonly known as Dalek (a name which references a fictional robotic race from the classic British Sci-Fi series Dr. Who). In the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, And There Was War In Heaven, Marshall continues to build upon the creative departure marked in his 2007 show Desperate, Rejected, and Angry—when he dropped the Dalek moniker to reveal his true name and debuted a new series of paintings rich in color and complex layers, reducing his popular Space Monkey character to its basic underlying geometric components for the first time. On the experience, the artist said: “The show was really cathartic, and I think it helped open up a lot of things for me visually. By not having that iconic centerpiece to build a painting around, all the other elements started happening more naturally… things grew in a different way, which was liberating.”
The Space Monkey was a character that Marshall created early on in his career. Resembling a mouse with mischievous bulging eyes, the figure was once described in The New York Times by art critic Holland Cotter as: “an ingeniously stylized creature with bulbous ears, a lopsided grin and a clear pedigree in the art of Takashi Murakami.” The character was used as a tool to represent and explore concepts of human emotions and relationships, often illustrating themes of violence and survival. These iconic figures became Marshall’s trademark as they appeared in his work for over a decade, however they play a far less prominent role in recent paintings. The familiar forms that defined earlier work by the artist have been refined into a new set of signature elements. By fragmenting, abstracting and obscuring the figural component within busy environments that echo the mechanical repetition of industrial mass-production, Marshall’s direction has evolved yet his aesthetic remains cohesive. His canvases consistently feature brightly hued flat colors painted in crisply defined planes of space, forming shapes and optical perspectives clearly separated by impeccably clean, sharp, and precise geometric line-work.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
James Marshall is a painter who currently lives and works in North Carolina. He was raised in a military family who moved frequently along the East Coast throughout his childhood and later lived in Hawaii and Japan. In his youth, Marshall turned to punk rock, skateboarding and graffiti subcultures for inclusion and identity. His Space Monkey character was born out of graffiti, which he discovered in 1994 in the rail yards of California and later in Chicago. After an education in anthropology and sociology, followed by receiving a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995, Marshall worked under the name Dalek to merge street art with influences from animation, Japanese pop, and the energy of the urban punk scene. In 2001, he reached a major turning point in his studio practice while working as an assistant/apprentice to the world-renowned artist Takashi Murakami. Marshall’s work has been shown in galleries and museums across North America, Europe and Japan.