Stephen Friedman Gallery features an exhibition of new paintings by American artist Kehinde Wiley in London. ‘In Search of the Miraculous’ includes nine new stunning paintings and the artist’s first film.
In these new realist compositions, Wiley mixes classical inspiration (Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa seems like an obvious influence but J.M.W. Turner and Hieronymus Bosch are more names) with the poetry of the everyday and contemporary tragic subject matters including migration, isolation and racism. The paintings are set in contemporary America at a time when the Trump administration seems more dangerous than ever. Selecting local young men from the rough areas of remote island nations, Wiley, who is probably most renowned for his portrait of Obama, begins by photographing his subjects in the mirrored pose of a specific historical painting.
This new series retains Wiley’s familiar figurative aesthetic and at the same time expands the scope and ambition of his practice. It’s a must-see exhibition which runs until 27th January.