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"I like the beating metal can take" — Ken Marshall's candy-coated angst

by Douglas Gorney

"Hammering out aluminum and coloring it with candy-coat auto paint, Ken Marshall's metalworks reflect the custom-car tradition of Southern California. Yet there's more to Marshall's oeuvre than shiny, low-rider dreams — in his "metal paintings" classical notions of human struggle are filtered through urban grit and overlaid with a particularly Angeleno weltschmerz "

Ken took time out from working on his latest series to talk with Convozine about creating his mixed-media work. We discussed his formative years in Japan, the powerful influence of Delacroix, the totemization of metal and the unparalleled coolness of early locomotives.

Read More at the "Luster of Steel" magazine.


Ken Marshall at RAW: Hollywood "Interactive" 6/2/2011

See Ken Marshall live at RAW in Hollywood.

Watch the video .

The Magazine Los Angeles

Ken Marshall reviews image

Ken Marshall's mixed-media pieces at James Gray Gallery were paintings, technically, but these flatworks certainly suggest and derive from his sculptural efforts. Painted on sheets of metal, these portraits of humanoid busts and figures are brushed and etched out of their surfaces. The materials -- metal sheets and automotive paint -- include Marshall's work in L.A.'s grand tradition of industrial processes being applied to fine arts.

Most of Marshall's pieces on display here depicted heavily contorted heads attached to somewhat organic geometric shapes. They were vague in their expressions, especially in contrast to the remainder of the images, which dealt with demons, serpents, and a fork-tongued dog.

In his pieces background colors mute the available light such that the space around the edges of the figures recedes, while the scrapes and swirls in the exposed metal bring the portraits into relief -- sometimes to the extent that they seem round when viewed head on, as though they were bowing out from the picture plane. In some cases, Marshall's colors are so delicate that the surfaces seemed dyed. Their absorption of light gave the appearance of translucence, as though one were looking at an image in amber rather than an opaque piece of aluminum.

Also on display at the Gallery were large, candy-colored portraits from Playboy photographer Keith Lander. Saturated colors and retro hairstyles heighten the '60s swing beyond even the reality of the magazine's golden years, and these large-format prints are rendered even shinier by their Plexiglas mounting. Upstairs in the Loft Gallery a series of photographs taken in Europe by Thomas Just. Palazzos, piazzas, bridges, and fa_ades were presented in soft-focus color, with refractions from the sun often adding sweeping arcs and kaleidoscopic additions to the natural beauty of the scenery.
by Paul Rand