The real voyage of discovery consists of not seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust
A medium of communication is not merely a passive conduit for the transmission of information but rather an active force in creating new social patterns and new perceptual realities. – Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess
By Gary Brewer
Painting is a medium that allows the artist a direct conduit to the mind, body and spirit. The perceptual sensitivity of the eye and the somatic memories embedded in the body allows one to make expressive marks that tell stories in themselves; or that shape our feelings and the way that we interpret an image. The voluptuous physicality of oil paint and its sensual power to communicate feeling and ideas is unique; it is the immediacy of its impact which conveys layers of meaning in a singular gestalt, that adds to the power of painting as a form of communication.
Memory fragments coalesce into narrative wholes; the energy of a stroke of paint communicates an emotional truth. Painting is a shorthand entrance into the soul of the maker. Kimberly Brooks uses these elements to discover works in an open process; the ideas that initially shape the direction of the painting are open to change and shape-shift in the process of creation. Memory of place, vestigial fragments and historical erasure are themes that move freely through her poetic images.
In Kimberly’s early work she did portraits of friends and family; they were intimate and the meaning of these paintings was contained within the personal histories of her life, and through capturing a likeness of her subjects. They were done in a fresh abbreviated style that had an immediacy of approach similar to the work of Elizabeth Peyton. Her love of the physical medium of oil on canvas was fully present; each stroke of paint holding its own as an expressive gesture that also captured the scene and her subject.
At a certain point the painterly qualities of gesture and its capacity to simultaneously describe and obscure, became central to her work and began to reveal how the movement of the brush can depict an image or erase it, leaving the ghost of a memory. “I started to blur my figures into the landscape or into the space that they inhabited. I realized that an empty room was a portrait or that a landscape was a portrait. I wanted to move away from the constraints of depicting someone and to allow the fragments and gestures of mark making/image making to communicate something more open to interpretation. My work tilted toward abstraction and the power inherent in the mark and the gesture.”