A NEW WAVE OF BLACK FEMALE ARTISTS has been making strides in the art world, over the past several years, with major exhibitions, museum acquisitions, collector support, gallery representation, and auction records that most practitioners don’t see in their entire careers. These recent publications are the first major volumes to document the individual practices of 10 artists at the dawn of their acclaim.

Most of the artists are in their 30s. A couple are in their 40s and 50s. Nearly all of them focus on portraits or figuration. Amy Sherald, 46, famously painted First Lady Michelle Obama’s official portrait for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. About five weeks after the portrait was unveiled, Sherald joined Hauser & Wirth, one of the top galleries in the world.

 


Clockwise, from top left, Ebony G. Patterson. | Courtesy Monique Meloche Gallery; Jordan Casteel. | Photo by David Schulze, Courtesy Denver Art Museum; Amy Sherald. | Photo courtesy the artist and Justin T. Gellerson; and Nina Chanel Abney. | Courtesy Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Photo by J Caldwell

 

Four are alums of the artist-in-residence program at the Studio Museum in Harlem: Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Jordan Casteel, Tschabalala Self, and Jennifer Packer. All four of them also earned MFAs from Yale University, where Christina Quarles received her MFA, too.

Three are professors. Packer teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design; Casteel is on the faculty at Rutgers University; and Ebony G. Patterson is an associate professor of painting at the University of Kentucky.

In her early 30s, Casteel is currently having a moment in New York, with her first-ever public art commission installed on the High Line and her first New York museum show on view at the New Museum. (After closing temporarily due to COVID-19, the museum reopens Sept. 15. The exhibition was scheduled through Sept. 1 and will now remain on view through the end of the year.)

In her practice, Deborah Roberts makes fascinating and poignant collages of young boys and girls. The work weighs issues of race and identity, strength and vulnerability, and beauty and masculinity. Roberts is in her late 50s and has been exhibiting for about two decades and for the first time in her career her work has received book treatment. In fact, two exhibition catalogs, dedicated solely to her work, were published in 2019.

The following volumes explore the work of Roberts, Akunyili Crosby, Casteel, Packer, Patterson, Quarles, Self, Sherald, Nina Chanel Abney and Toyin Ojih Odutola. Some include interviews with the artists, providing the opportunity to hear directly from them about their practices. Roberts speaks with curator Valerie Cassel Oliver and Abney talks with curator Jamilah James. In Packer’s case, she’s in conversation with artist Kerry James Marshall:

 


“Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush,” Edited by Marshall N. Price, with a preface by Richard J. Powell, essay by Natalie Y. Moore, and interview by Jamillah James (Duke University Press Books, 124 pages). | Published May 26, 2017, softcover

 
Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush

DRAWING ON CULTURAL TRENDS, politics, and the latest news, Nina Chanel Abney blends figuration and abstraction creating graphic and boldly colored narrative compositions that reflect our fast-paced, media-driven society.

Born in Harvey, Ill., Abney is based in New York. She earned an MFA from Parsons School of Design (2007) and is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery. A site-specific installation by the artist is currently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.

“Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush” was published to accompany her first solo museum show, a traveling exhibition organized by Marshall N. Price at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Four additional venues presented the show: the Chicago Cultural Center; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the California African American Museum in Los Angeles; and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York.

The fully illustrated exhibition catalog includes a preface by Richard J. Powell, critical essays by Price and Natalie Y. Moore, and an interview with the artist conducted by Jamillah James.

At one point, the two discuss a series of paintings Abney made about police violence (circa 2015). “I wanted to know what does this mean, dropping police brutality in the middle of the art world, because the art world is kind of isolated—…” Abney said. “…how will certain collectors feel about these paintings. I had all these questions. That’s what really prompted me to create that body of work. And I felt like I had been working in a lot of public spaces recently, so my work wasn’t as political or as potent as it had been in the past. I was like, I got to get back to what I was doing.”

 

FIND MORE about Nina Chanel Abney on her website

 

“I wanted to know what does this mean, dropping police brutality in the middle of the art world, because the art world is kind of isolated…”
— Nina Chanel Abney


“Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze,” Edited by Rebecca R. Hart, with foreword by Christoph Heinrich, and contributions by Greg Tate, Isolde Brielmaier, and Elizabeth Alexander (Denver Art Museum, 60 pages). | Published in 2019, softcover (out of print)

 
Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze

HARLEM-BASED Jordan Casteel was born in Denver, Colo. She paints portraits. After earning an MFA from Yale (2014), she was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2015-16), where people living and working in the uptown neighborhood inspired her work and became her subjects.

This volume documents “Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze,” which was organized last year by the Denver Museum of Art, her hometown museum, and traveled to Stanford University’s Canter Center for Visual Arts. The fully illustrated volume features essays by exhibition curator Rebecca R. Hart and Isolde Brielmaier; meditations by Greg Tate and Elizabeth Alexander; and brief first-person accounts from a few of Casteel’s subjects who share how they met the artist and how they feel about their portraits.

In her essay, Hart wrote that Casteel brings “a sense of immediacy and agency” to her sitters, along with empathy, and she quotes the artist. “The practice requires that I come out of myself to really hear the stories of others and then share those stories through my lens,” Casteel said.

A new volume Jordan Casteel: Within Reach coincides with her current exhibition at the New Museum in New York.

 

FIND MORE about Jordan Casteel on her website

 


“Jordan Casteel: Within Reach,” Edited by Massimiliano Gioni, Foreword by Lisa Phillips, with contributions from Dawoud Bey, Thelma Golden, Lauren Haynes, and Amanda Hunt. | Published April 14, 2020, softcover

 


“Njideka Akunyili Crosby: I Refuse to be Invisible,” Edited by Cheryl Brutvan, with essay by Taiye Selasi, interview by Brutvan, and contributions by Kristen Rudy (Norton Museum of Art, 68 pages). | Published 2016, hardcover

 
Njideka Akunyili Crosby: I Refuse to be Invisible

THE FIRST PUBLICATION dedicated to the work of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, this exhibition catalog documents “I Refuse to be Invisible,” which was presented at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla. (2016). Fully illustrated, the volume includes texts by Cheryl Brutvan, who organized the exhibition, and Taiye Selasi.

Brutvan also interviews the artist and asks about how she came to begin incorporating transfer images her work during graduate school. Akunyili Crosby says, “I just felt like painting wasn’t enough. If you think of it as vocabulary, I needed more words. I had reached the limits of what I could do with the vocabulary of painting.”

Los Angeles-based Akunyili Crosby earned an MFA from Yale and is represented by two galleries—Victoria Miro and David Zwirner. Her multifaceted paintings draw on her personal narrative growing up in Nigeria and contemporary experiences in America.

Two additional, more recent volumes also focus on Crosby’s work: “Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Predecessors” (2019) and “Njideka Akunyili Crosby: The Beautyful Ones” (2019). Part of a series curated by Hilton Als, “Njideka Akunyili Crosby​” will be on view at the Yale Centre for British Art in New Haven, Conn. (2021), and will travel to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif.

 

FIND MORE about Njideka Akunyili Crosby on her website

 

“I just felt like painting wasn’t enough. If you think of it as vocabulary, I needed more words. I had reached the limits of what I could do with the vocabulary of painting.” — Njideka Akunyili Crosby


“Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Predecessors,” Edited by Ian Berry and Steven Matijcio, with essays by Malik Gaines and Steven Matijcio, and interview by Berry (Tang Teaching Museum, $80 pages). | Published in 2019, hardcover

 


“Njideka Akunyili Crosby: The Beautyful Ones,” By Siddhartha Mitter (Victoria Miro Gallery, 54 pages). | Published Nov. 5, 2019, hardcover

 


“A Matter of Fact: Toyin Ojih Odutola,” With an essay by Leigh Raiford, director’s statement by Linda Harrison, and introduction by Emily Kuhlmann (Cameron Books/Museum of the African Diaspora, 38 pages). | Published by Feb. 5, 2019, softcover

 
A Matter of Fact: Toyin Ojih Odutola

AN ARTIST WITH A PENCHANT for writing, Toyin Ojih Odutola explores identity in her drawings, with an emphasis on narrative. Born in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, she grew up in Alabama and earned an MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Initially, Ojih Odutola worked in mostly black-and-white with ballpoint pens and pencils. Several years ago, she began incorporating pastels and charcoal into her work, introducing color, which added more depth and dimension to her skin topography, fabric patterns and backgrounds, and visual storytelling.

With each new series, she pushes the possibilities of portraiture. For “A Matter of Fact: Toyin Ojih Odutola” at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, she was inspired the notion of Black aristocracy. Inventing the UmuEze Amara family, she made a series of works that challenge the viewer to weigh the social constructs of class through the lens of race, gender, and sexuality. The exhibition includes 18 portraits of the fictional family, a “noble” Nigerian clan led by gay patriarchs who are pictured in a double portrait titled “Newlyweds on Holiday” (2016). The artist presents the works on view as being drawn from the family’s rarely shown private art collection, which was assembled over 200 years.

The fully illustrated catalog includes installation views along with color plates of individual works, and written contributions by then-MoAD Director Linda Harrison; Emily Kuhlmann, director of exhibitions and curatorial affairs; and Leigh Raiford, University of California, Berkeley professor of African American studies. In addition, Odutola offers two pages of “notes” on the exhibition. (Her notes are also included in a resource guide developed to accompany the exhibition.)

With the series, the artist said she “aimed to invent a history of wealth within a family, whose entire existence was defined by wealth, opulence, and privilege—excluded from the debilitating and painful history and trauma of enslavement and colonization.”

Ojih Odutola wrote: “I’ve always approached each series with a narrative that hinged on the aforementioned: how identity is so malleable, so suspect, and more of an amalgamation of attributes that an individual dons either by choice or usurps or is forced to live with by societal demarcation. Like blackness, wealth can define the spaces of those who inhabit it—for it limits and/or permits movement, stunts variety of perceptions and experiences, as well as readjusts context. Furthermore, like anything involving race and ethnicity, wealth, upon the striated terrain of class, is indicative of a history that is invented and is constantly reaffirmed in order to keep the construct going.”

Based in New York, Ojih Odutola is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery. In 2012, she self-published her first monograph, “Alphabet: A Selected Index of Anecdotes & Drawings,” a second-edition of her MFA thesis. Published in a limited-edition of 100, “The Treatment 2015-17 / Toyin Ojih Odutola” featured an introduction by William J. Simmons and a conversation with the artist conducted by Claudia Rankine.

A brand new catalog documents “Toyin Ojih Odutola: A Countervailing Theory,” her first UK exhibition that opened last week at the Barbican Centre in London.

 

FIND MORE about Toyin Ojih Odutola on her website

 


“Jennifer Packer: Tenderheaded,” Edited by Øvstebo and Jennifer Packer, with contributions by Safiya Sinclair, April Freely, Jessica Bell Brown, and interview by Kerry James Marshall (Renaissance Society, 96 pages). | Published Aug. 31, 2018, hardcover

 
Jennifer Packer: Tenderheaded

NEW YORK ARTIST Jennifer Packer paints portraits and still lifes. She concentrates on people she knows and flowers. The images are loosely rendered and somewhat abstract with her subjects often retreating into the background, an approach that introduces deep emotion and great ambiguity. She generally uses a limited color palette and takes her time producing paintings, spending months, or even years on each one.

Packer earned an MFA from Yale and is represented by Sikkema Jenkins in New York and Corvi-Mora in London. “Jennifer Packer: Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep” was scheduled to open in May at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA is currently closed due to COVID-19) and her first solo show in Europe is forthcoming at Serpentine Galleries in London (November).

“Jennifer Packer: Tenderheaded” (2017), her first solo museum exhibition, was organized by the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and traveled to the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. “Tenderheaded” featured 15 works dating from 2012 to 2017.

The catalog published to document the exhibition was the first to explore the artist’s work. Fully illustrated, the volume includes writings by Solveig Øvstebø, the director and chief curator at the Renaissance Society who curated the exhibition, and essay contributions by Safiya Sinclair, April Freely, and Jessica Bell Brown.

“The subjects (flowers and people) have been fixtures of the practice of painting throughout history: presented in myriad different ways on the plane of the canvas, they’ve fallen in and out of fashion and performed a number of religious, political, historical, and social functions,” Øvstebø wrote. “Packer’s works connect to traditions that are enduring but at the same time imbued with a renewed urgency in the present moment. She is one of a number of contemporary painters taking up the question of what it means to represent black lives within this tradition and what possibilities the medium has yet to offer them.”

The catalog also includes a conversation between Packer and Kerry James Marshall. At one point, Marshall wonders about Packer describing her work as “flower paintings” and he asks her “So what’s the difference between a flower painting and a still life?”

Packer responds: “I guess I tend to think of a still life as being something that feels too hygienic. I think of a still life as a thing that’s more proper than what I’m looking for. But that’s just the language I use, partly because I want to take some of the gravity out of it. I could simply say “I painted some flowers,” when I’m actually making a funerary bouquet. When I’m making these paintings, they’re tied to mood, and psychological wellness, attention, feeling disoriented, whatever it is. But they also bring me back to different questions. Such as what the fuck is a good painting?”

 


“Ebony G. Patterson: …while the dew is still on the roses…,” Edited by Tobias Ostrander, with preface by Franklin Sirmans, text by Olive Senior, and contributions by Maria Eugenia Hidalgo, Spanish editor (Prestel, 120 pages). | Published Feb. 5, 2019, hardcover

 
Ebony G. Patterson: …while the dew is still on the roses…

WORKING IN A VARIETY of mediums, Ebony G. Patterson builds up her surfaces with layers of flowers, fabric, lace, glitter, pearls, and beads. Beautifully intense, the embellished works address visibility and invisibility, violence, masculinity, and Black youth culture.

“Ebony G. Patterson: …while the dew is still on the roses…” is the first publication to document the practice of the Jamaican-born artist. Surveying five years of work, the volume accompanied her recent exhibition organized by the Pérez Art Museum Miami (and later on view at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky.). Her most “expansive” and “significant” presentation to date, the immersive installation explored the garden as a space of both beauty and burial.

The lavishly illustrated volume includes a prologue by Franklin Sirmans and essays by exhibition curator Tobias Ostrander and Jamaican author/poet Olive Senior, and features both English and Spanish text. “This project forces us to reexamine the very notion of ‘garden’ that we have cultivated all our lives. Patterson’s garden is not simply a site of beauty, seduction, and pleasure, it is also a site of contestation and control,” Senior wrote.

Patterson, who splits her time between Kingston and Lexington, Ky., earned an MFA in printing and drawing from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. (2006). She is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago and recently joined Hales Gallery in London. Her forthcoming solo shows will be presented at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (opening Sept. 11) and the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark.

 

FIND MORE about Ebony G. Patterson on her website

 

“This project forces us to reexamine the very notion of ‘garden’ that we have cultivated all our lives. Patterson’s garden is not simply a site of beauty, seduction, and pleasure, it is also a site of contestation and control.”
— Olive Senior


“Christina Quarles,” By Grace Deveney, with foreword by Madeleine Grynsztejn, and contributions from Uri McMillan and Mark Godfrey (Prestel, 112 pages). | Published April 30, 2020, softcover

 
Christina Quarles

EXPLORING THE COMPLEXITY of identity and demonstrating a facility for color and composition, Christina Quarles paints fascinating and ambiguous scenes centered around interacting bodies. This exhibition catalog accompanies “Christina Quarles” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the largest presentation of the artist’s work to date.

The exhibition was expected to open in April, during the museum’s temporary closure due to COVID-19, and has been rescheduled for Spring 2021. Grace Deveney authored the catalog and curated the exhibition, which will showcase new and recent works made over the past three years.

The fully illustrated catalog includes contributions by Uri McMillan and Mark Godfrey. Introducing the artist’s work, Deveney writes: “Deliberately disorienting, her works invite a reconsideration of genre painting and, in turn, the real-world conditions that lead to an understanding of what it means to exist within a body and the environments we inhabit. Historically, those conditions have been shaped by the long-standing modernist fantasy of the universal body—one that is decidely white, masculine, and heterosexual.”

The release of this catalog closely follows the first publication to document the work of Quarles. That volume, also titled “Christina Quarles” was published in 2019 to accompany an exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield (Oct. 19, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020) in West Yorkshire, UK, her first solo show in Europe.

Quarles was born in Chicago and grew up in Los Angeles, where she lives and works today. She earned an MFA from Yale and is represented by Regen Projects in Los Angeles and Pilar Corrias in London.

 

FIND MORE about Christina Quarles on her website

 


“Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi,” Edited by Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, with contributions by Kirsten Pai Buick, Erin J. Gilbert, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Antwaun Sargent, Franklin Sirmans, and interview by Valerie Cassel Oliver (Georgia Museum of Art/Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, 160 pages). | Published July 29, 2019, hardcover

 
Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi

BASED IN AUSTIN, TEXAS, Deborah Roberts has been working on her craft for three decades. She earned an MFA from Syracuse University and over the past several years, has gained widespread recognition. Her subjects are Black youth, depicted in single portraits and in pairs and groups. Working in collage, she assembles their images with an eclectic mix of facial features, limbs, and colorful and patterned tops and bottoms, creating complex portraits that convey the spectrum of Blackness. The youth exhibit strength, vulnerability, determination, and individuality. After focusing on girls, she recently began considering the experiences of boys. Roberts explores the perceptions and assumptions cast upon both.

In January 2018, “Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi” opened at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and featured more than 80 works made between 2007 and 2017, tracing the artist’s evolution from a figurative painter to a collage artist. Released in 2019, after the pivotal exhibition closed, the fully illustrated catalog includes a foreword by Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell; an introduction by Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, the museum’s director; thoughtful essays by Kirsten Pai Buick, Erin J. Gilbert, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Antwaun Sargent, and Franklin Sirmans; and an interview with the artist conducted by Valerie Cassel Oliver.

“Central to the earliest collage works was the use of my own image. At the very beginning, I used a picture of me from third grade. It was my eight-year-old face. Initially, it was an exercise, a way of deconstructing that face, breaking it apart, reducing it down to its bare recognizable self, and then building it back up,” Roberts said in the conversation with Cassel Oliver.

“Then it became taking a system, a model of how to destroy and rebuild it, using four elements: contemporary art (I mean, white art history), American history, Black culture, and pop culture. Using these four perspectives or vantage points, I began to reframe how I built her—it was about building this figure from these four angles, and it was essential to get this combination right in getting the collages to work.”

The volume was one of two published in 2019 that for the first time document her practice. Roberts is represented by Vielmetter Los Angeles and Stephen Friedman Gallery in London, where “Deborah Roberts: if they come” was also published last year, accompanying her first solo exhibition with the gallery, which was also her first in Europe. The fully illustrated volume includes an essay by Daniella Rose King.

Delayed due to COVID-19, “Deborah Roberts: I’m,” the artist’s first solo show in a Texas museum, opens in January 2021 at The Contemporary Austin.

“What I want as an artist is for the viewer to see that face, first and foremost, and the face of a child because that’s the image I think you need to come to. I tell my audience that this is the idea — to see that little girl! I am hoping that they also see vulnerability, strength, and beauty. If you can find yourself in her face, then you can see and embrace your own humanity. Once you see me as human, then we can coexist equally. That’s the basis of the work.” — Deborah Roberts


“Deborah Roberts: If they come,” Edited by Gerrie van Noord and Jonathan Horrocks, with an essay by Daniella Rose King (Stephen Friedman Gallery, 54 pages). | Published 2019, hardcover

 


“Tshabalala Self,” Edited by Ziba Ardalan, with contribution by Tom Morton, and an interview by Ardalan (Parasol Unit, 84 pages). | Limited Edition of 500, Published 2017, hardcover

 
Tshabalala Self

THE VISIONARY PRACTICE of Tschabalala Self employs painting, sewing, and collage. The iconic symbolism of the Black female body in contemporary culture is at the center of the artist’s production. Her work considers the psychological impact of the symbolism; the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality; and contemporary notions of Black femininity. She often realizes her figures as powerful “characters” with exaggerated or abstracted features.

Self was ahead of the curve when she began her 2018-19 residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem, in the neighborhood where she was born and raised. Prior to the residency, she’d already had solo shows in Germany, Italy, and Glasgow, Scotland. Solo exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle (2019) and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2019) coincided with the residency. Meanwhile, an earlier presentation, “Tschabalala Self” at the Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art in London (2017), was her first exhibition in the United Kingdom and was accompanied by the first publication to document her work.

Nearly 30 works from the first five years of her career were on view: works on paper, mixed-media paintings, and sculpture. The fully illustrated catalog includes essays by Ziba Ardalan, the founder/director of Parasol unit who curated the show, and Tom Morton. Ardalan also conducted a brief conversation with the artist for the volume.

“Using materials from everyday life along with paint helps to widen the conversation around my work. Various materials have specific cultural value for me and my viewers. Putting materials and paint together blurs the lines of fact and fiction in my work. The various materials are not paint, but function as it,” Self said in the interview.

She later added: “…I am happy to contribute to the conversation around Black women and Black femininity. There is a lot to be done, most of which is too complicated to state plainly. However, having more Black women making images for and about Black women is the first step in a major change towards constructive imagery.”

Based in New Haven, Conn., Self earned an MFA from Yale (2015) and is represented by Pilar Corrias Gallery in London and Eva Presenhuber in New York. Her work is currently on view in “Tschabalala Self: Out of Body” at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Another solo exhibition is forthcoming at the Baltimore Museum of Art (2021).

 

FIND MORE about Tschabalala Self on her website

 


“Amy Sherald,” Edited by Eddie Silva, with contributions by Lisa Melandri and Erin Christovale (Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 36 pages). | Published Jan. 22, 2019, softcover

 
Amy Sherald

BORN IN COLUMBUS, GA., Amy Sherald earned an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore (2004). Fast forward a dozen years and she won the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition in 2016. The Smithsonian museum prize included a portrait commission, which led to her painting First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait. She has since joined Hauser & Wirth, where her first exhibition with the gallery, “the heart of the matter,” was on view last fall in New York.

This is Sherald’s first exhibition catalog. The publication accompanied “Amy Sherald,” which was organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in 2018, following the unveiling of her Obama portrait. Lisa Melandri, the museum’s executive director, served as curator of the traveling show, which was also on view at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. The volume features writings by Melandri and Erin Christovale and full-color plates of the eight paintings presented in the exhibition. All of the works were made between 2015 and 2018, including “Planes, rockets, and the spaces in between” (2018), a rare double portrait by the artist with one figure turning her back to the viewer against a landscaped background.

In her essay, Christovale contextualized the scope of Sherald’s work—its connections to Baltimore, her portrait of “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama,” and the shades of gray she uses to paint the skin of her subjects.

“Sherald creates otherworldly portraits of everyday black folks that operate somewhere between a weighted past and an obtainable future,” Christovale wrote. “Stoic amidst performative posturing, these figures self-actualize, becoming the nexus of their painterly confines where color field backgrounds contend with the hard edge that delineates the sitter’s clothing. These figures claim space with their eyes, often gazing back at the viewer, giving only glimmers of their origins.” CT

 

FIND MORE about Amy Sherald on her website

 

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