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Gerald Lovell Finds Beauty in the Mundane

Gerald Lovell isn't trying to make a statement. He rejects the idea that portrayals of Blackness are inherently political. He's simply documenting what happens around him. His latest exhibition, verde, now showing at P·P·O·W Gallery, captures otherwise fleeting moments of his closest friends and loved ones. However, the self-taught artist is meticulous in their recreations, combining impressionist painting with an impasto technique — both techniques rely on the attention and accumulation of the miniscule.

Lovell takes these seemingly unimportant moments and does what every great artist does best: notices. He pays attention to details that create their own narratives. Whether it's the simplicity of a dinner or the moment of contact in a warm embrace, Lovell immortalizes the ephemera in his canvases. And with verde, Lovell embarks on a journey of self-discovery through monumental portraits that invited viewers into the depths of his mind. 

Born in 1992 in Chicago, IL to Puerto Rican and African American parents — Gerald Lovell began painting professionally at 22, and has been beautifully capturing candid moments ever since. When asked about one of his most intimate pieces, a group portrait featured in the exhibition named Untitled, Lovell calls it “an act of biography." "These are all scenarios in which we're living.” The moments that he captures are universal, and there's a palpable sense of tenderness in the communal aspect of his candids.

Discussing his perspective as an artist, he emphasized the importance of embracing his subjects, "I'm meditating on things we may take for granted. Traveling, eating, friends, I cherish it all." It's clear when speaking to him that painting gives him a sense of purpose, and that his work is deeply personal, “Everyone I paint is a friend of mine.” From a friend to the hit Hulu series The Bear, his list of references is encyclopedic and expansive. He praises The Bear's capability to beautify simple moments in the kitchen like cutting vegetables, or even decorating a plate reminds him of painting. “Restaurants are feeding you an experience, and I'd like to do the same in my work."

Lovell finds the majesty in moments that are like any other. From intimate portraits of friends grilling, as seen in Ant on his Patio, to images of strangers committed to memory, it's evident that Lovell uses painting as a form of therapy and sacred outlet that allows him to access memories hidden in his mind. It was evident while speaking with him that his work is handled with care, and an extrospective view of the people and world around him.