Man with Lightbulb
This painting uses raw graphite lines with expressive globs of oil paint to rework snapshots from the American past. The resulting composition collapses periods of time and, in its tactile immediacy, reveals something about the state of the nation today.
Aguilar's work intervenes in the process of images mediating our relationship to history and, by extension, the present. While his subject matter is purportedly historical, the deadpan gaze of many of his figures yanks these scenes into the contemporary moment.
Aguilar's paintings also adopt a position of ethical responsibility, with a sense of social justice undergirding his canvases. Something hopeful seeps through the artist's multicolored scenes—an intimation that if, and only if, history is acknowledged and its remnants confronted, we can forge new paths that lead us forward.
A self-taught artist, Aguilar reworks snapshots of the American past into multi-colored paintings that mingle raw graphite lines with globs of oil paint. By collapsing periods of time, his canvases reveal how images mediate our relationship to history and the present. Aguilar’s work seeks to restore dignity to those who have been denied it, engaging issues of social justice as well as structural and institutional violence.