Jerrell Gibbs’ Tender Paintings Breathe Life Into Everyday Family Moments

Rebecca Fulleylove, Elephant, June 29, 2020

"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.

 

Now that most people’s mobile phones double as cameras, there’s a constant dichotomy between the chaotic nature of the photo albums and manicured social media accounts which many tend to on their devices. Mobile camera rolls contain every visual urge their user has had, full of screenshots, cat pics and inconsequential musings, whereas on social media most people are highly selective, and these accounts essentially provide an edited version of both their digital photo albums and themselves. While the two live awkwardly in parallel, it can sometimes mean images of real significance, such as family portraits and special moments, can get lost in the noise.

 

Jerrell Gibbs’ paintings are almost an antidote to this noise, in that they retrace family memories and explore both joyful and intimate moments in painterly detail. The Baltimore-based artist achieves this by adapting Polaroid pictures and turning them into life-size paintings which are full of movement and embedded with significance.