Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery

1. This painting is large—almost 79 inches square—making the scale of the bodies larger than life.

2. Mwangi Hutter is a "double-gendered, multi-cultured personality entity" with studios in Berlin and Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Nairobi, Kenya. More conventionally known to be a husband-and-wife artist team, Mwangi Hutter is each of their surnames side by side. Through their work, they merge their bodies and creative efforts into one joint identity, a "collective being" exploring the aesthetics of interrelationship. They also have four children together.

3. Ingrid Mwangi was born in Nairobi to a German mother and a Kenyan father. She moved to Germany at the age of 15. The experience of being biracial—"growing up in Kenya, I was a white person," she has said, and "coming to Germany, I realized very strongly that I was a black person"—has given her the perspective of an insider/outsider in both of her cultures and instilled a lifelong interest in questioning the edges of identity.

4. Robert Hutter met Mwangi in art school in 1998. They started collaborating, and in 2005 began to produce work as Mwangi Hutter.

5. The title of this painting is Again fulfilling, and it's part of the Union Series, which portrays the artists in a series of embraces that embody all sorts of relationship dynamics. In some of the paintings, the figures are more distinct; in others, the bodies are almost completely merged into one form. The light and dark values of their skin tones are intentionally mixed together to show that there are no hard boundaries between them.

6. Even the space around the figures is allowed to penetrate their forms here and there.

7. Made with acrylic paint and black and white liquid chalk, the materials are applied to the canvas in big, expressive gestures that leave watery drips. Mwangi Hutter's work often involves physical performance, and in this case, they consider the act of painting its own kind of performance. Asked which of them specifically applied the paint and liquid chalk to the canvas, the artists replied, "Both."

8. Most of the Union Series works are new and this is the first time they have been exhibited. Mariane Ibrahim Gallery is located at 608 Second Avenue, 206-467-4927. recommended