Baltimore-based Artist Amy Sherald Life-sized Portraits On View

Amy Sherald, Well Prepared and Maladjusted, 2008. Courtesy of the artist.

Known for her life-sized fantastical portraits of African Americans, Baltimore-based Amy Sherald explores the construction and performance of identity within political, social, economic, and cultural spheres. Sherald, who was reared in the South, holds a BA from Clark-Atlanta University and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. In the series of paintings on view, the artist stages what she calls "scenes of social ascent and racial descent" that interrogate notions of blackness. "These paintings originated as a creation of a fairytale, illustrating an alternate existence in response to a dominant narrative of black history," says Sherald. "Each painting starts with a chance encounter of an individual that embodies certain resonating characteristics. I am continually searching for models and creating costumes for each character." Visualizing race through a lens of performance and spectacle, Sherald's work provides social commentary with a hint of satire.

Sherald is the recipient of significant international awards and fellowships. Her work was featured in Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe: The Contemporary Response (2012). She has paintings in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

On Wednesday, October 9 at 6:30pm, the museum will host The Artist Path: A Conversation with Amy Sherald. Spend an evening with artist Amy Sherald and Dr. Michelle Joan Wilkinson, director of collections and exhibitions, RFLM, as they examine art and racial identity through the artist’s portrait lens.