“When I think of the figure, I think of immortality or an otherness that is just out of this world, representing an endless possibility,” Lynette Yiadom-Boakye told Interview magazine in 2017. Yiadom-Boakye, who is British, paints portraits. But subjects don’t sit for her. Instead, each is imagined, a composite of photographs she has seen, people she has passed on the street, and characters in narratives she envisions in her mind. At first glance, the paintings are deeply realistic and classically composed, but a closer look always reveals something unfamiliar, a hint of newness that gestures toward a greater beyond. The first Black woman to be shortlisted for the Turner prize, Yiadom-Boakye now has her first major retrospective at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen—C.J.F.