Acrylic on fiberglass
201 × 292.7 × 7.6 cm (79 1/8 × 115 1/4 × 3 in.)
In this large-format painting with its enigmatic iconography, three characters are represented in a symbolic beach scene. A clothed couple walks on the beach while a female figure in a swimsuit remains outside this intimacy, in a strange “ménage à trois.” The play of colour invites us to connect the swimsuit of the lone woman with the shell washed up on the sand, displaying the pink enamel of the lip of its shell, in a highly sexual motif.
As the artist states, “All my life I've been expected to acknowledge the power and beauty of pictures made by white artists that have only white people in them. I think it's only reasonable to ask other people to do the same vis-à-vis paintings that have only black figures in them.” The question of colour—black, in particular—is central to Kerry James Marshall's research, who uses it in all its variations, mixing the pigments of iron oxides and ivory black to restore their intensity and their ability to absorb light.
This painting by Kerry James Marshall is presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection in the exhibition "Ouverture" at the Bourse de Commerce in 2021.