Menu
The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Presidential Portraits by Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherald Unveiled

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.

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.

Wiley says that the flowers are a “nod toward his personal story … There are flowers that point toward Kenya; there are flowers that point toward Hawaii. In a very symbolic way, what I am doing is charting his path on Earth through those plants that weave their way … There’s a fight going on between him and the plants in the foreground that are trying to announce themselves underneath his feet. Who gets to be the star of the show: The story or the man who inhabits that story?”

Sherald offers insight on how Michelle Obama, as a person, continues to inspire her: “The act of Michelle Obama being her authentic statement that engaged all of us. What you represent to this country is an ideal: a human being with integrity, intellect, and compassion. And the paintings I create aspire to express these attributes.”

See footage from the unveiling below.

Meta
Share
Facebook
Reddit
Pinterest
Email
Related Articles
Dutch painter Chris Berens's work (featured in our book Hi-Fructose Collected 3) can be described as storybook-like with a darker twist. His light, airy paintings have a luminescence about them, as if his figures and the spaces they inhabit have a crystalline translucency that imbues them a magical-feeling ambiance. Berens recently collaborated with best-selling young adult fiction author Kami Garcia on an illustration project. An artist herself, Garcia is a long-time admirer of Berens and asked him to create three new paintings to be reprinted in her forthcoming novel, Unmarked. We bring you a first look at these new pieces before they debut in the book, which hits stores later this week.
Carlo Alberto Rastelli, a painter who lives work works in Milan, blends an off-kilter palette and perspective with unexpected textures to explore humanity and art history. His works can feel at once intimate and otherworldly in how they approach depth and form. The painter attended the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan, and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Riga.
Crafted in Chinese ink and mineral pigment on silk, Shoichi Okumura's gorgeous compositions blend figurative and floral elements. After moving to Tokyo with his parents, Beijing-born painter would garnered global in his studies. Today, the artist’s received multiple awards for his absorbing, large-scale pieces.
Jamian Juliano-Villani, known for stirring acrylic paintings packed with dark humor and sprawling references, offers new works in a show at Massimo De Carlo London titled "Let's Kill Nicole." She offers both new paintings and sculptures in the display, which runs through Sept. 21. Juliano-Villani's work is known for pulling in a variety of familiar imagery from fashion, illustration, and other industries, with conversations emerging over what constitutes referencing versus appropriation. “Everything is a reference,” she’s insisted.

Subscribe to the Hi-Fructose Mailing List