Jerrell Gibbs (b. 1988; Baltimore, Maryland) opposes deceptive perceptions of Black American men by questioning master narratives and their connection to a muted visual history. Gibbs’ paintings are acts of resistance; asserting power over visual stereotypes. He paints the Black male figure with adornments, such as flowers, and contextualizes them in moments of peace, rest, and solitude. These gestures function to dismantle the visual misrepresentation of violence, trauma and pain.
Gibbs is committed to creating paintings that are both authentic and truthful, and he reveals Black men as God-fearing, husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. His paintings highlight joy, beauty and the mundane; all components within the vastness of Black life. The compositions, which are often taken from his family archive, focus on placement, size, and proportion, as much as they do on mark-making and painterly gestures. His assertions of legacy highlight the performative nature of heritage and displaces an audience unaccustomed to more extensive and wide-ranging portrayals of Black life.
Gibbs graduated with an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland in 2020. He has exhibited at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum (Baltimore, Maryland), The Galleries at CCBC (Baltimore, Maryland) and The Gallery at Howard University (Washington D.C). His work appears in the permanent collection in The Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, Ohio) and most recently the Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, Maryland).