Jerrell Gibbs
Elephant

Rebecca Fulleylove, Elephant, July 29, 2020

Jerrell Gibbs’ tender paintings breathe life into everyday family moments. The Baltimore-based artist channels his childhood experiences and knowledge of socioeconomics, body politics and race into personal works that invite the viewer into his world. 

 

Gibbs’ figurative portraits make the ordinary extraordinary, and depict the multilayered experience of the African American diaspora. We gain deeper insight into this as Gibbs, who’s set to graduate with an MFA from MICA this year, has entrenched his paintings with real memories and feelings. “To me, being able to explore my life’s experiences through painting creates an opportunity to construct dialogue with viewers,” he tells me. This invitation into Gibbs’ world feels personal, and is conveyed through warmth and purposeful swathes of colour. Though these images have been inspired by static photographs, Gibbs breathes life into them, whether that’s through a subject’s confident pose or a wistful stare into the distance.