Jeffrey Marshall is an artist living in Gloucester, Massachusetts. His drawings and paintings have been shown in many national venues, including the Cape Ann Museum, Aspen Museum of Art, The University of Rhode Island, The Boston Center for the Arts, and Endicott College among many others. His New Orleans Drawing Project, a 10-year document of the city's post-Katrina Recovery, was featured in The New York Times, Art New England and Artscope Magazine.
Jeff works primarily from observation. He believes that placing himself in the landscape creates opportunities for dialogue that are unique to working on site.
He is a lifelong educator, most recently an Associate Professor of Art Foundation at Mount Ida College in Newton, MA. Previously he was Associate Professor of Graphic Design at The New England Institute of Art. His teaching career started with Teach for America in New Orleans, where he taught elementary school. He credits his effectiveness as a college professor with the years he spent in primary classrooms.
Jeffrey received his undergraduate degree in painting at Cornell University, and did his graduate work in painting and printmaking at The Massachusetts College of Art.
JEFFREY MARSHALL, ARTIST STATEMENT from the exhibition Gone...Fishing
The contested landscape has been my subject for over a decade, from the post-Katrina neighborhoods of New Orleans to the coastline of Massachusetts. I look for imagery that echoes the complex social and environmental issues of specific places that I love. The subjects I choose are often overlooked, revealed as thematic possibilities only after intense visual research of a site.
When I moved into my studio at Morse-Sibley Wharf in East Gloucester in 2016, I spent months drawing as a way of taking inventory of my surroundings, much of which I am lucky enough to view from my windows. This long process of drawing and painting from observation has allowed me to focus on what seems to drive the work, friendships, family, and struggles of the fishermen and lobstermen who show up to this place every day.
Artists in Gloucester often include boats, docks, and other classic representations of its fishing industry in their imagery. After looking, drawing, and painting for a year, I found myself most often watching the trucks, almost always trucks, that filled the parking area under my studio like fish in an aquarium. Over time I began to sense the rhythms of the wharf: where trucks pull up cab to cab to talk, or haul gear, and stay for hours, days, or minutes.
Working with a subject that moves, changes color with the day, reflects its surroundings, and is so specifically designed, is the kind of impossible challenge that keeps me returning to these pickup trucks. Every day, whether working outside or in my studio, brings unique visual situations and encounters that make their way into the work. The contents and movements of these machines suggest the life inside, and I have tried to give the drawings a similar energy.
I am an intensely private person, and my art has become a way to develop relationships I would otherwise avoid, because the work demands me to say hello. As a New York City kid whose father took him fishing once, in a swamp, I have very little in common with the men and women who work on the sea. My hope is that through drawing and respecting this small element of a fisherman’s life, I might create stronger connections with this city I call home. This is an exhibition of trucks, and I hope it is also a document of Gloucestermen.