Jerrell Gibbs - Artists - Dowling Walsh

Jerrell Gibbs (b. 1988; Baltimore, Maryland) opposes deceptive perceptions of Black 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, 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 received his M.F.A. from the LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD. His work is in the permanent collections of the Brandywine Museum of Art, Chadds Ford, PA; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC; CC Foundation Shanghai, China, and x Museum, Beijing, China. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Easy Does It Curatorial Space, Los Angeles, CA, and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery in Paris, France, and Chicago, IL, and more than thirty group exhibitions across the United States, Europe, Mexico, and Korea. Gibbs has been an artist-in-residence at Mare Residency, Baltimore, MD, and has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Maryland Institute College of Art. He lives and works in Baltimore, MD.

The Aldrich's is one painting from my series called I Can See Through Muddy Waters Dry Land.

The Aldrich's are friends of my family. The background of the painting is of their backyard. What intrigued me was the vastness of land that we have in the state of Maryland, more specifically 30 minutes outside of Baltimore city. I thought about accessibility to space like this, and who has the opportunity to experience it.

I took a picture of their backyard and used it as source material for the painting. The figure in the work is from a separate photograph whose purpose in the painting is to reinforce the idea of peace, reflection and stillness. The relationship between figure and landscape contrasts and creates tension because of the choice in color palette - highly saturated background vs gray scale - which also gives the viewer the opportunity to rest within the figure. This allows the Black male in the painting to be the source of peace, rest and solitude for the viewer. 

Back To Top