07 Jun 2018
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
Reviewed by Margaret Keller
Amy Sherald's life-size, realistic oil portraits of African-American women, men, and children stare out boldly. Taking straightforward, confrontational poses, these specific individuals have powerful presences. Sherald's signature use of grisaille instead of naturalistic skin tones lends them a universal quality. Strong and serene, they are simultaneously icons and distinct personalities.
The paint is smooth, pushing the focus onto the person instead of the medium. Flat, bright, monochromatic backgrounds project a sole, frontal figure, or sometimes a pair, into the viewer's space. The arrangement highlights people who often aren't really seen by our culture, or in art history.
Clothing with bold patterns and extreme contrast, such as in A Clear Unspoken Granted Magic (2017), has a graphic quality balanced by the heightened realism of the faces. Sherald's skilled paintings document, commemorate, and portray their subjects, who fully proclaim, "I am here."
|Exhibition||Amy Sherald link|
|Start date||11 May 2018|
|End date||19 Aug 2018 (in 4 days)|
|Presenter||Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis link|
|Venue||3750 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, USA map|
|Image||Amy Sherald, A Clear Unspoken Granted Magic, 2017, oil on canvas, 54 x 43 inches, courtesy of the artist|
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