When I was in film school, before the millennium, we were instructed always to reserve some time at the end of shooting in each room. During this time, we were to record several minutes of silence in the room. This “room tone” could then be seamlessly woven in wherever sound editing called for dialogue shot in that space to pause.
The point of room tone was that the ear can hear a mismatch if two different silences are welded together in the editing. No two silences are alike. Silence is full of timbre. Each room has a personality which comes to the fore in the quiet that falls after its occupants have left.
This concept comes to mind when considering many of the paintings in Kimberly Brooks’s solo show Brazen, at Zevitas Marcus in Los Angeles.
Painting is sight, but some painters naturally summon other senses in service of their imagery. Brooks summons sound, and yet she does not imply noises. She is a painter of silence, of the full, textured silence of room tone. The rooms she depicts are stately and filled with luxurious objects. People have perpetually just vacated them. Their conversations or laughter have fallen away. There is a stuffy close quality to the air. It is trapped and moves only in tiny currents. The personality of these rooms comes into focus now that they are empty.