Amy Sherald’s oil paintings are arresting portraits, absorbing in their choices of palette and mood. Within her works’ titles, we’re given further insight into the personalities of these figures, like “What’s Precious Inside Of Him Does Not Care To Be Known By The Mind In Ways That Diminish Its Presence (All American)” and “Try On Dreams Until I Find The One That Fits Me. They All Fit Me.” Yet, these works stand alone as engrossing, vibrant odes to individualism. For a recent show at Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, the venue said that the artist creates “imagined figures based on real-life interactions, subverting and exploring notions of black identity through her unique sense of visual culture, color and line.”
“My work began as an exploration to exclude the idea of color as race from my paintings by removing ‘color’ but still portraying racialized bodies as objects to be viewed through portraiture,” the artist says, in a past statement. “These paintings originated as a creation of a fairytale, illustrating an alternate existence in response to a dominant narrative of black history.”
Sherald is a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta. Since graduating, she’s had exhibits in New York, Chicago, and other spots across the U.S.