In this painting, the artist uses a predominately dark palette of blacks, browns and blues to question established definitions, representations and interpretations of Blackness—from its most literal qualities as a color, or absence of color, to its most metaphysical. This work is part of a series where Marsalis employs images of microphones, silhouettes and spotlights to define areas of light or dark. In his practice, the artist recognizes similarities in the interdependent relationships between an artist and a painting, creating an analogy between a performer and a stage.
Jasper Marsalis’ paintings, sculptures, music and texts examine the role of the artist as a performer. The similarities between the canvas and the stage are explored in compositions that suggest both flatness and depth. Los Angeles-based Marsalis uses history, representation and identities—including Blackness—to create a spectacular and fractured illusion, while simultaneously questioning its effect.