Roberta Smith situates artist Amy Sherald within a group of youngish painters
… who have broken with, absorbed or simply ignored modernist abstraction. Instead, they work with the figure as a way of reaching broader audiences; dealing with issues of identity, gender and sexuality… The many African-American artists working in this vein are also dismantling Western painting’s racial homogeneity, populating it as never before with images of black people.
(Roberta Smith, “Amy Sherald’s Shining Second Act,” NYTimes, 9-12-19)
Smith describes Sherald’s paintings as
… startlingly spare… paintings of confident, black people whose stylish clothes and backdrops contrast with their faces, which are uniformly grisaille… She also uses grisaille, she has said, because she wants to take race out of her paintings.
And yet for all that they are grayed, Sherald’s subjects are unmistakably African-American. And that seems to be an essential aspect of her art, the part she professes to take out.
(c) 2019 JMN