Four months after it was announced that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald would be painting the presidential portraits for former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, the pieces have been unveiled. Wiley, who was the cover artist for Hi-Fructose Vol. 36, debuted a characteristically vibrant and absorbing portrait for the 44th President of the United States, seated against an overgrowth of flowers and foliage. Sherald’s striking painting of the former first lady implemented a dress with a design reminiscent of the work of Dutch abstract painter Piet Mondrian. Sherald was last mentioned on HiFructose.com here.
(A collaboration with Celeste Byers)
Aaron Glasson’s murals, though surreal and vibrant in an otherworldly sense, are firmly grounded in reality, often depicting real people and their personal journeys. The artist, born in New Zealand and living in the U.S., crafts murals across the world, in addition to work in illustration and gallery paintings. He cites his themes as “relationship to the natural environment, community empowerment and education, indigenous knowledge, the subconscious, and the unseen.” Several of his recent murals are collaborations with artist Celeste Byers.
Carlos Tardez has a talent for portraiture across two- and three-dimensional forms. Yet, it’s in his sculptures that the surreal nature of his works becomes visceral, whether evoking laughter, intrigue, or both. These small figures are often paired with normal-sized, found objects. These interactions create strange narratives.
Amy Cutler’s gouache narratives explore womanhood and the Western experience through surrealism and icons of domestication. The Poughkeepsie-artist plays with pattern and texture in these scenes, pulled from both contemporary design and historical fashions. Her work has been shown in solo shows from New York to Stockholm.
Kevin Francis Gray’s malformed and surreal figures, rendered in varieties of marble and fiberglass, exhibit both a more honest, visceral reflection of humankind in their incompleteness. The Ireland-born, London-based sculptor creates work that in its seemingly soft form, defies its stubborn material. Shown both against interior and exterior backdrops, that quality plays with its surrounding environment.
Trevor Knapp’s linocut prints use texture and value to create absorbing scenes. The process, in which artists cut pieces away from a sheet of linoleum and use the design to create ink prints, takes on a ghostly quality at the hands of Knapp. Shadows and mystery tend to play major roles in series like “Memories of a Metropolis.”