Kehinde Wiley’s (Hi-Fructose Vol. 29) opulent portraiture subtly stirs the status quo. As an American artist, Wiley honed his craft in accordance with a legacy of Euro-centric art history that left him simultaneously awed and alienated. One would be hard-pressed to find a grandiose portrait of a person of color in the works of the Renaissance masters in the Met or the Louvre. This is the motivating factor of Wiley’s oeuvre: to elevate images of average people of African descent through his ornate depictions, exposing the singular beauty of his subjects through dramatic compositions that evoke the Baroque period.
While he started out this aesthetic exploration by scouting subjects in major US cities, Wiley’s art has taken him all over the world to work with people of the global African diaspora. His latest series, “The World Stage: Haiti” is currently on view at Roberts & Tilton Gallery in Culver City and features 12 new paintings based on his recent travels. Read more on Hi-Fructose.