The Easel

17th September 2019

The American realism of painter Amy Sherald

Having painted Michelle Obama’s portrait, some things follow – notably higher expectations. Sherald doesn’t seem fazed, holding fast to the idea of painting people like herself “just being themselves … [not] about identity necessarily”. The Obama portrait is about a specific person but her other portraits are less about individuals and more conceptual, ““archetypes” of black experience”.

The Disturbing Greatness of Hyman Bloom

With admirers like Pollock and de Kooning, Bloom seemed destined for fame. It didn’t happen. One reason was his choice of still life painting with an odd subject – bodies and body parts. Bloom’s “autopsy paintings”, executed with beautiful colours and technique, are “paradoxes of sensuality and repulsion”. Great they may be but they were never going to be competitive with the exuberance of abstract expressionism.