ARTSCENE: REVIEW Brazen

artscenelogo by Andy Brumer

Los Angeles-based artist Kimberly Brooks offers a strong showing of mostly oil on linen paintings. The title of the show, “Brazen,” offers a an insightful clue to its contents. Brooks spoke to this writer of the need she felt to move her paintings in a new direction. Towards that end she took leave of (for now, at least) the style of landscape paintings and figurative works (of mostly fashionably attired women), as well as the emotionally charged symbolic colors with which she painted them, and for which she has used exuberantly in previous work.

"Talitha" Oil on Linen 2017

“Talitha” Oil on Linen 2017

Using the word “Brazen” as a  mantra to free her paint brush to wander where it would, allowing the paintings to find new shapes, feelings and themes, the artist set to work. This rather extensive exhibition of large and small works attests to the fact that she met, if not exceeded her goal. It’s not that the figure and the landscape subjects of earlier paintings have vanished, far from it. Rather Brooks this time coaxes forth their visual DNA in a different manner.

Take, for example, the face-on portrait titled “Talitha.” Whereas previously Brooks would infuse her portraits of women with a blend of sultriness and luscious full-bodied curves, she now presents “Talitha” with a thoroughly flat, austere and almost featureless visage. The artist sets the face in an oval of sky blue reminiscent of a Victorian era pin or brooch that augments the piece’s sense of restraint. The painting’s primitive style adds an element of flourish and relief. A geometrically complex patchwork garment clings tight against the figure’s chest and neck.

Kimberly Brooks 'Blue Forest' Oil on lInen 2017

Kimberly Brooks ‘Blue Forest’ Oil on lInen 2017

This relative restraint finds its free-wheeling, sensual counterpart in a dreamy landscape painting titled “Blue Forest.” Here the artist uses a muted palette of earthy browns, yellows, greenish tans and pinks that run ubiquitously through this show, in this work to configure a dreamscape of plants, tree limbs and other organic forms. The bottom half of the painting presents a row of brighter red shapes that both pop forward visually and dot the canvas with a breezy grace.

"Gods and Mountains" Oil on Linen 2017

“Gods and Mountains” Oil on Linen 2017

Brooks’ undergraduate training in Literature (at UC Berkeley) makes itself known in this show as well. For example, in the narrative approach to “Gods and Mountains,” a group of angular El Greco-like figures kneel and huddle under a ray of teeming expressionist brushstrokes that pour out of a rather Old Testament looking cloud capping a mountain. “Angel/Mother/Goddess” then shifts into more of a New Testament mode, with a Virgin Mary-like figure spreading cloaked wings to embrace a flock of daubed cream-colored faces that have snuggled safely within their span.

"Portrait Hall", Oill on linen 2017

“Portrait Hall”, Oill on linen 2017

artscenelogo
“Portrait Hall” is a slightly eccentric rendering of a Baroque, Palace of Versailles-like interior that introduces an architectural motif that relates most readily to Brooks’ previous style. However, rather than plumb straight corners and realistically rendered walls, this room shimmers in and out of focus in a kind of fun-house buzz. Loosely stroked and smudgy images of tall portrait paintings hang from the walls and add a note of hilarity to this highly skilled painting.

While Brooks may have corralled her muse’s willpower to produce these works, the paintings themselves in the manner in which they nourish the eye and nurture the soul feel anything but audacious, this is to say “brazen” at all.

CURRENT EXHIBITION: New Paintings by KIMBERLY BROOKS “Brazen” Zevitas Marcus 2754 S. LA Cienega Blvd.

zmlogo

Kimberly Brooks 'Blue Forest' Oil on lInen 44 x 36

Kimberly Brooks ‘Blue Forest’ Oil on lInen 44 x 36

On View:  September 9 – October 28, 2017
Opening Reception:  Saturday, September 9, 2017 from 5 – 8pm

Los Angeles, CA – Zevitas Marcus is pleased to present Brazen, a solo exhibition of oil paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Kimberly Brooks. The exhibition will run from September 9 through Oct 21, 2017 with an opening reception Saturday, Sept 9, 2017 5:00 – 8:00 PM.

Kimberly Brooks’ constructs scenes with singular gestures, marauding imagery of recognizable historical contexts to manifest something entirely new. Her work brings together traditional subject matter – the figure, landscape, interiors and still-life – with her own personal experiences to form a deft fusion of contemporary and historical concerns.

There has always been a palpable tension between abstraction and representation in Brooks’ work. Her most recent paintings veer ever more aggressively towards abstraction, which is used as a divide between experiencing the materiality of a particular history (Museum Wall) and falling inside the frame to experience the history at the time of depiction (Blue Angels).

While the work included in Brazen all arrives from recognizable source material, Brooks is less interested in reportage than she is in the ability of paint to directly conjure meaning. To this end, religious icons, grand interiors and ornamentation are all purposefully untethered from their traditional functions and allowed to embody a greater range of meaning within our contemporary culture. In Talitha, stark Joan of Arc hair and a sumptuous collar remain as the greatest signifiers of a faded princess. The facial details have fallen vague, effectively encouraging an audience to project their own narratives onto what is left behind. Brooks work is ultimately concerned with how painters see and process the visual remnants of history.

KIMBERLY BROOKS
Kimberly Brooks graduated from UC Berkeley in Literature and worked as a writer before exchanging the pen for the brush. Brooks studied Painting at UCLA and OTIS.  Her work has been showcased in numerous juried exhibitions including curators from Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, California Institute of the Arts and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Brooks lives and works in Los Angeles. This is her first solo exhibition with Zevitas Marcus.

ZEVITAS MARCUS
Opened in September of 2015, Zevitas Marcus is a contemporary art gallery founded by Steven Zevitas and Richard Marcus located in the heart of Los Angeles’ gallery district, Culver City.  www.zevitasmarcus.com

SIGN UP NOW Spring Master Class, @ Otis in Los Angeles

SPRINGOTIS

INTERMEDIATE OIL PAINTING: EMERGING ARTIST

Join Artist Kimberly Brooks for this intermediate painting workshop where students will refine their techniques and personal style when approaching the canvas. Students will be exposed to practical techniques involving building different types of grounds, color mixing, and when to employ tightness vs. looseness.  Brooks will share various techniques for embracing every stage in the life cycle of creating a work of art as well as assembling a body of work for exhibition.  With an emphasis on safe studio practices, this class will teach techniques for Oil Painting (used by Rembrandt and Velasquez) that minimize exposure to toxic chemicals.

Kimberly Brooks is the first recipient of the Franklyn Leigel Award for Teaching Excellence 2016.

Prerequisite: drawing and composition, introduction to painting: material and techniques.  First class materials: enrolled students will be given an itemized list of basic painting materials and colors.

SIGN UP TODAY

SIGN UP 1 Week Summer Workshop at Anderson Ranch, Colorado

araclogo

Setting your artistic exploration free starts with understanding the architecture that makes up the grounds of a painting, whether you are working figuratively, representationally or abstractly. In this workshop, students with basic oil painting experience are exposed to new approaches for composing, including practical techniques, building different types of grounds, color mixing, how to layer and deconstruct, and when to employ tightness versus looseness. Develop techniques for keeping your art as fresh as possible while simultaneously building the scaffolding to create a cohesive body of work through this engaging exploration of painting.

Media & Techniques:

With a strong emphasis on safe studio practices, this class teaches techniques for oil painting used by Rembrandt and Velasquez. We learn to minimize our exposure to toxic chemicals, while at the same time work with traditional painting methods.

Activities:We explore various materials, build our skills in several painting techniques, and develop many paintings from beginning to end throughout the week. We learn through technical instruction, individual feedback and guided studio time.

Faculty:Kimberly Brooks is a contemporary painter who blends figuration and abstraction to explore a variety of subjects dealing with memory, history and identity. She exhibits nationally, and her work has been showcased in numerous publications and exhibitions including the Whitney Museum, MOMA and California Institute of the Arts.

Building Grounds: The Fundamentals of Oil Painting – D0611
Skill Level(s): I, II
Instructor(s): Kimberly Brooks
www.kimberlybrooks.com

Workshop Registration begins January 2, 2017

REGISTER >