Gilbert views the artist’s studio as a fertile environment, safely separated from the surrounding world’s rules and expectations. Images of flora and fauna inhabit the space, bringing the outdoors indoors, and launching an investigation of growth in the studio. As seen through his camera, the studio is also a place to examine childhood and to recapture a child’s joy of discovery and sense of awe. Just as growing up changes the interpretation of symbols and images, the forms in Gilbert’s work often shift meaning through context, repetition, and scale. Select images from Gilbert’s own childhood – butterfly stickers, The Wizard of Oz, princess dresses and the color pink – often appear directly in this body of work.
Both natural and electric light play an integral role in Gilbert’s work by evoking times of day, and referencing paintings and photographs from art history. Daylight points to the outside world flooding in, and Gilbert controls, elevates, and celebrates this light. He heightens the transformative process of photography by shooting at specific hours; light coming in at particular angles highlights and intensifies certain objects and details. Each image freezes the changes in the studio at a specific moment while reflecting more generally on memories of childhood, interiors, and a sense of the lush outdoors. The resulting photographs capture the studio mid-growth.