Free admission (all visitors, all hours)
Beginning 19 October, Hauser & Wirth presents ‘Womanist is to Feminist as Purple is to Lavender,’ an online exhibition comprising five new small-scale portraits made by Amy Sherald over the course of the pandemic. Taking as its title a widely cited statement by celebrated novelist, poet, and activist Alice Walker, this presentation finds Sherald returning to the medium of gouache for the first time since she was a child, with results that reaffirm the inherent radicality of both her vision and technique.
‘Womanist is to Feminist as Purple is to Lavender’ is a prelude to Amy Sherald’s first West Coast solo exhibition, which will open at Hauser & Wirth in February 2021 and present new full-scale paintings. In their handling of the delicate pigment and signature use of grisaille to depict skin tone, the works in ‘Womanist is to Feminist as Purple is to Lavender’ demonstrate that experimentation with paint itself lies at the heart of Sherald’s artistic enterprise. Each work on view is merely 11 by 7 inches in size. Yet these portrayals of Black women at ease achieve the authority of landmarks in the long tradition of social portraiture – a tradition that for too long excluded the Black men, women, and families whose lives have been inextricable from the grand narrative of American experience. With their direct and confident regard of the viewer and their colorful accoutrement of leisure, Sherald’s subjects take their place in the cavalcade of sitters whose likenesses have served American painterly innovation and cultural documentation from the pre-Revolutionary era up to today. But as a Black woman painter of fellow citizens in the 21st century, she succeeds uniquely in expanding the chronicle.