Taking photographs wherever he goes, Lovell describes himself as “always looking for a painting subconsciously.” Sourcing images from self-portraits, photographs of friends and family, and travels, Lovell records passing memories and fleeting emotions. In his second solo exhibition, In the Eye of the Beholder, Lovell contemplates the meaning of beauty and what it means for him personally. Reflecting on his past by examining his present, In the Eye of the Beholder represents a survey of paintings that together document life experiences, friendships, and family events since moving from Atlanta, GA to Brooklyn, NYC. Included in the exhibition is the artist’s first major landscape painting, depicting a Japanese garden he encountered while visiting Vancouver, CA, his first time outside the United States. In Dauda, 2022 Lovell paints a friend and neighbor who coincidentally has also recently moved from Atlanta to New York. Camera on his hip and the New York City skyline distantly beyond his Bed-Stuy roof, the painting acts as a surrogate self portrait of Lovell, in a new city, a new age, and building a new community.
For Gerald Lovell (b. 1992), painting is an act of biography. Combining flat and impressionistic painting with thick daubs of impasto, Lovell’s monumental portraits depict loving scenes often lost to the abyss of memory. Lovell’s portraits refuse the notion that all Black figures put down on canvas are somehow political. Rather, his work records a deep commitment to fostering alternative community narratives by imbuing his subjects with social agency and self-determinative power, while also revealing individualistic details that lay their essential humanity bare. Born in Chicago to Puerto Rican and Black parents, Lovell began painting at the age of 22 after dropping out of the graphic design program at the University of West Georgia.