Amy Sherald documents contemporary African-American experience in the United States through arresting, otherworldly paintings. Subverting the medium of portraiture to tease out unexpected narratives, she situates black heritage centrally in the story of American art and invites viewers to engage in a complex debate about accepted notions of race and representation. The individuals in her paintings are deliberately posed, dramatically staged, and assertive in gaze. Their expressiveness and the variations in their gestures, clothing, and emotional auras, reinforce the complex multiplicities of African-American existence. The persistent sense of privacy and mystery maintained in Sherald’s work requires viewers to ponder the thoughts and dreams of those depicted. Debuting new paintings, this exhibition marks Sherald’s first solo presentation with Hauser & Wirth.
Sherald was the first woman and first African-American ever to receive first prize in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; in February 2018, the museum unveiled her portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Sherald’s first solo museum presentation, ‘Amy Sherald,’ which was presented by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2018, and opened at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in January 2019.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)