Preludes: Farley Aguilar

25 November 2021 - 27 January 2022

All these portraits are based on mugshots from the past. I find mugshots to be the basest type of portraiture and also fascinating because they include a duality. On one side we are looking at a subject, or the representation of a subject, a human being looking back at us. On the other side is something objective, the profile, something more detached from humanity that can be categorized or tabulated.

I include the lightbulb in between these two sides because I want to bring to mind the light of truth that policing and regulations are supposed to result in. Every society has discrepancies and inconsistencies that it must hide in the shadows in order for it to present itself as a cohesive whole. It’s these kinds of things I want to deal with. All the crimes these people were charged with could be seen from a totally different perspective just a few decades later or in a different place. What is brought to light as a crime or is celebrated as heroic is very fluid.

- Farley Aguilar


Edel Assanti is pleased to present Preludes: Farley Aguilar - the final instalment in a series of solo-artist presentations anticipating larger exhibitions with the gallery in 2022.

Aguilar’s practice addresses the social facade of community and the habitual modes of human behaviour within them such as group identity, political allegiance and cultural ritual. Working from found photographic imagery, ranging from mugshots and portraits to historical reportage, the artist’s charged paintings invoke a reappraisal of moral doctrine, human nature and the echoing of history. This sense of social justice undergirds Aguilar’s canvases, as he broaches the painter’s position as one of ethical responsibility.

Aguilar's work was recently exhibited at SPURS Gallery (Beijing, China), Kunstraum Potsdam (Potsdam, Germany), Lyles & King (New York, US), Taubman Museum of Art (Roanoke, US) and The Mennello Museum of American Art (Orlando, US) among others. His work features in the collections of the Bass Museum, Miami, Pérez Art Museum, Miami, Brown University, Providence, Akron Art Museum, Akron and the Orlando Museum of Art. Aguilar lives and works in Miami, US.

Installation Views