"Inspired by American realists, her subjects are actively affirmed by their own brazen individuality," Carroll went on to write. "Each figure stands suspended in a highly textured ethereality, an undefined space that breaks linear assessments of time and place."
Though based in Baltimore, Sherald is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in the Obamas' hometown of Chicago.
The portraits are distinct from the ones that hang at the White House, the Journal notes. Sherald and Wiley are the first African-American artists hired by the Smithsonian to paint a president and first lady, the Journal reports.