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.
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.”