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2022 Colene Brown Art Prize Recipients

The Colene Brown Art Prize awards ten New York-based visual artists with $10,000 unrestricted grants. The Prize is underwritten by artist and former BRIC Board Member Deborah Brown and her sister Ellen Brown in memory of their late mother, Colene Brown, and is funded through the Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation.

*Artist bios below.

Aaron Gilbert
Anna Conway
Bernadette Despujols
Camille Hoffman
Emilie Louise Gossiaux
Jeff Sonhouse
L.J. Roberts
Rachelle Mozman Solano
Sara Jimenez
Valerie Hegarty

The recipients were selected from a pool of some 50 nominations which were made by a multidisciplinary panel composed of ten New York City-based curators, critics, and artists. The 2022 nominators include: Janine Antoni, Artist; Danny Báez, Curator, Founder, and Director, REGULARNORMAL Gallery; Regine Basha, Curator, Writer, Educator, and Radio Producer for “Tuning Baghdad”; Gabriel de Guzman, Director of Arts and Chief Curator, Wave Hill; Tom Finkelpearl, Author and former Commissioner of New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Ashley James, Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Guggenheim Museum; Baseera Khan, Artist; Christopher Y. Lew, Chief Artistic Director, Horizon Art Foundation and former Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art; Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Artist; Susanna V. Temkin, Curator, El Museo del Barrio. A selection committee within BRIC chose the final ten recipients of the award. Nominations were made based on each artist’s exceptional merit and absence of substantial institutional support.


Aaron Gilbert (he/him; born in 1979 in Brooklyn, NY; based in Brooklyn, NY) paints what he calls “Psychic Novellas,” vivid narrative scenes that convey the complex dynamics of intimate relationships and that express, and intrigue, the human psyche. Inspired by his own experiences and communities, he tells visual stories about parenthood, partnerships, and sexual relationships. His paintings derive formal qualities, especially figurative style and poses, from Persian and Indian miniatures, Mexican retablos, and Italian Renaissance religious paintings, aligning his work with disparate aspects of global visual history. Gilbert’s paintings depict microcosmic moments, presenting windows into tender yet corrosive connections affected by societal pressure. His paintings confront viewers with emotive and relatable scenes that articulate psychological experience in less-than-glamorous sides of modern life. With enlarged eyes—often ghostly, duplicated, or casting a penetrating gaze outward—his figure style portrays an unsettling psyche within quotidian experiences.

Gilbert’s solo exhibitions include those at Lyles & King, NY; Chris Sharp Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Sant’Andrea de Scaphis, Rome, Italy; and Mottahedan Projects, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He has exhibited in group shows at the Brooklyn Museum and the 2016 BRIC Biennial: Volume II, Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights Edition, both Brooklyn; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Amberwood House, London, England; and FUTURA Center for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic. He has a 2022 residency at Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Umbertide, Italy, and has had residencies at Fountainhead and Yaddo. He has received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant and a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Painting. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Gilbert holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art, a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and an AS from Penn State University. / @aaron_gilbert_studio