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Four Room Log House

Leroy "Art" Marshall
SMA 1997.66

mixed media


18.25 x 11.75 inches

46 x 30 centimeters

about the work

The smallest of Marshall's pieces in SAM's collection is not crafted atop a wooden plank, as the other two. Instead, Marshall carved into a sheet of thick corrugated cardboard to create the inset porch, windows, and door of this cabin. With this layering technique, Marshall created nearly a full inch of physical depth between the cabin door and the edge of the porch overhang.

Marshall's favored materials can be easily identified in this composition: thin reeds, meticulously trimmed and placed, serve as the cabin walls; strips of cardboard with precisely drawn shingles make up the roof, from which a stone chimney protrudes. Crushed gravel creates a short walkway from the porch stairs off the edge of the scene.

Unique to this piece is the use of plastic bubble wrap on the picture window to the left of the cabin porch. Plain plastic was used on the other two windows to imitate the transparent sheen of glass.

The painted landscape upon which this cabin was built is warm; a beige overcast sky and patchy green and brown lawn could indicate that autumn is nearing its end. Two trees, one on either side of the cabin, sport colorful leaves applied in a thick impasto. These trees seem to be on the same plane as the cabin, yet neither are as tall as the cabin itself. Perhaps these are young trees, needing just one more autumn to pass before they can offer fruit to the cabin's inhabitants.

about the artist

Leroy "Art" Marshall was a self-taught artist who lived in Gaffney, South Carolina. A gun violence incident in 1966 caused Marshall to become paralyzed from the waist down; over 150 operations and a series of following health issues led to one leg being amputated in 1980.

Marshall turned to making art as a way to pass the time in the hospital, using any and all materials brought to him by friends, family, and nurses. He was inspired to create an image of the farmhouse across the street from his home, which started his beloved series of mixed media cabins, which he called “three dimension pictures.” With each piece, he experimented with new techniques, such as how to layer small wood chips as shingles, or using crushed stones and gravel for textural chimneys. “I spend about five or six hours on each one,” he said, “and I don’t know how many I’ve given away over the years.”

Marshall’s art was championed in Spartanburg by art teacher and fellow artist Doris Turner, who encouraged the Spartanburg Arts Center to host a solo exhibition of his work in September 1986. Marshall attended a reception in his honor and sold more than a dozen pieces during this show. His untimely passing in 1988 cut short his blossoming art career.

In addition to the Spartanburg Art Museum’s Permanent Collection, Marshall’s work can be found in the State Art Collection.

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