Last December, Aaron Gilbert’s solo presentation with Mexican gallery, Lulu, at NADA Miami pushed me to confront the complexities of a reality that many suffer but very few capture so well. In one of the paintings, a woman is involved in a tender moment with her daughter: painting her face, carrying on with being a parent, a citizen, maybe even an employee—but an electronic ankle bracelet indicates that she is also on parole. That little detail attached to the subject’s leg covers not even 5% of the surface of the canvas, yet it changes the entire dynamic of the narrative. I couldn’t help but be deeply moved and intrigued. Who is Aaron Gilbert? How is it that he's in New York and I haven’t heard of him? I immediately reached out, planned a visit, and about two weeks prior to our meeting, PPOW Gallery—known for representing some of the strongest figurative painters of today—announced his representation. Gilbert’s new paintings will be on view at Independent Art Fair this week and his upcoming body of work is slated to be the inaugural show of PPOW’s new TriBeCa location next fall, along with historical works by Martin Wong.
The following video offers an edited interview at Gilbert’s studio, on the border between Bushwick and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn.