Kehinde Wiley: In Search of the Miraculous

Kehinde Wiley: In Search of the Miraculous

From November 24, 2017, to January 27, 2018, Stephen Friedman Gallery will present In Search of the Miraculous, an exhibition of recent work by renowned portraitist Kehinde Wiley.

This marks an important moment in Wiley’s career, as he departs from the portrait style for which he is celebrated to explore the atmospheric and romanticised tradition of maritime painting. In Search of the Miraculous includes nine new paintings and Wiley’s first three-channel artist film Narrenschiff.

Wiley has long positioned himself in the tradition of portraiture, appropriating the tropes of the great historical painters. In developing these compelling new works, Wiley looked to J.M.W. Turner, Winslow Homer and Hieronymus Bosch and was inspired by the subject matter, use of colour and composition in their paintings.

These dramatic meditations on the sea and mankind’s relationship with it drive forward a striking new visual style that relies upon Wiley’s unparalleled painting skill. Wiley draws on the canon of art history to investigate truly contemporary themes of romanticism, migration, madness and isolation.

Kehinde Wiley was born in 1977 in Los Angeles, USA. He currently lives and works in New York, USA and Beijing, China. His highly naturalistic paintings of contemporary urban men and more recently women adopt heroic poses directly referencing classical portraiture. The World Stage, Wiley’s vast and celebrated body of work, has previously focused on Brazil, China, Israel, Nigeria, Senegal and Sri Lanka, with exhibitions held in museums and galleries in Europe and the USA. Wiley engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic, and sublime in his representation of urban black and brown men and women found throughout the world.

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