ART DAILY Exhibition offers a take on the sacred and secular acts of confessing sins

LOS ANGELES, CA.- January is about cleansing the past and making new starts. But since the early 1990s, independent polls have shown the rapid growth of those without a religious affiliation. So where do people go to confess, if not to a higher power? Two curators thought … perhaps an art gallery?

On Jan. 5, 2019, Durden and Ray in downtown Los Angeles celebrated the start of the year with an exhibition that allows people to cleanse their souls through the art of disclosure.

Curated by Dani Dodge and Alanna Marcelletti, “Disclosure: Confessions for Modern Times” features artists Kim Abeles, Jorin Bossen, Kimberly Brooks, Joe Davidson, Dani Dodge, Donald Fodness, Kathryn Hart, Debby and Larry Kline, Conchi Sanford, Ed Tahaney and Steven Wolkoff.

For this exhibition, Dodge and Marcelletti decided to play devil’s advocates and create a space where the participants can disclose transgressions and progress unfettered into 2019 through art. The exhibition includes interactive confessionals, each designed by different artists, and figurative art exploring the experience of being human through relationships, tragedy, translation of autobiography and Barry Manilow.

The show is a contemporary take on the sacred and secular acts of confessing sins. Conchi Sanford’s confessional is composed of two see-through cocoons that allow people to whisper secrets to each other. Steven Wolkoff channels Bart Simpson with a piece on which people write what they will not do. Inside Kim Abeles’ confessional, people hear the sound of audio she collected one minute every day for 1440 minutes, or 24 hours, and Dani Dodge’s formal wooden confessional flashes “CONFESS” while inviting people to put their sins on display through Post-it notes.

“It’s not as if we aren’t aware of our own failings,” said Alanna Marcelletti, who identifies as a vague Catholic. “With our pervasive attention to social media, we witness the rampant documentation of repulsive things that people do to each other. And we are acutely aware of how much those terrible acts relate to who we are in secret.”

The figurative works in the show acknowledge the burden of unreleased guilt. Aesthetically, they are divided by the curators into their ideas of heaven, hell and in-between. Kimberly Brooks’ abstract figures exist in a heavenly realm, while Donald Fodness hellishly disassembles Barry Manilow. Debby and Larry Kline play prophet by mapping impending tragedy for the planet referencing Biblical plagues as they foretell natural and man-made disasters. In between are the paintings of a disconnected relationship by Jorin Bossen, and Ed “Celso” Tahaney’s vibrant take on the personal disclosures of Hollywood luminaries. Joe Davidson memorializes a life lived through concrete castings of the insides of his own shoes, while Kathryn Hart reveals her personal form of survivor guilt with a sculpture that includes found bone, which she refers to as a private confessional.

Dani Dodge, who was raised agnostic but has spent much of her life exploring different faiths, previously did a performance piece taking confessions and giving twisted penance at an LA Pride Festival.

“You have to wonder how the religious and secular populations reflect on, illustrate and purge themselves of guilt when confession is reduced to hashtags on social media.” Dodge said. “When Alanna and I put together this show with various takes on confessionals, and figurative works that drill into the heart of our guilt and fear, we wanted to addresses the abundance of guilt by attempting to satiate the audience’s appetite for repentance.”

The exhibition closes Feb. 2, 2019. Durden and Ray is located in the Bendix Building in LA’s Fashion District at 1206 Maple Ave., #832 Los Angeles, CA 90015.

ARTIST FEATURE: Los Angeles Review of Books

Kimberly Brooks integrates figuration and abstraction to explore a variety of subjects dealing with history, memory and identity.  Exhibitions include Mom’s Friends, Technicolor Summer, The Stylist Project, I Notice People Disappear, Brazen and most recently Fever Dreams, a midcareer survey, at Mt San Antonio College (2018). Brooks received her B.A. at UC Berkeley (Literature, Valedictorian) and studied painting at Otis and UCLA. Upcoming exhibitions include Paintings from the Interior at UC Riverside and the Untitled Art Fair in San Francisco 2019.

LA WEEKLY Interview with Shana Nys Dambrot

Meet an Artist Monday: Painter Kimberly Brooks
by Shana Nys Dambrot

L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?

KIMBERLY BROOKS: I knew I was an artist since I was little. I had a set of markers in kindergarten that I kept incredible care of, and every few years I would get more colors. When I was 13, my father took me to New York’s MoMA, and when I saw Malevich’s White on White I had so many questions and it filled me with determination. That same moment also led my late father, Leonard Shlain, to pen his first book, Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light.

What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

This changes depending upon the year you ask. I fall into subjects as if into a well. I used to focus on the figure. Now I tune into my imagination, painting interiors and landscapes that I either dreamed or remember.

Kimberly Brooks, Fawn, 2018, oil on linen

What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I would start a publishing company so that I could collaborate with artists and writers. I love putting art and words together into a new kind of art.

Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?

I grew up in San Francisco and Marin, where the light is primarily silver. I tried living in other places, New York (too much cement), and for a year in my 20s I lived in Paris and played piano in bars at night. It was terribly romantic, intoxicating to the point of oppressive. I was also broke. But in Los Angeles, which I discovered almost by accident due to an out-of-the-blue job opportunity, the light is gold. There was a singular moment, in a rented red Nissan Sentra on Sunset Boulevard, while the sunlight was blinking between the palm trees into my eyes, that I knew that it was here that I could be an artist in full.

When is/was your current/most recent/next show?

My current survey exhibition, “Fever Dreams” at Mt. San Antonio College, is my largest yet. It features 32 oil paintings and 20 works on paper. It’s about 21 miles east of DTLA and worth the trip. I also have a piece in the group exhibition “Nature Worship,” curated by Andi Campognone at the Mash Gallery in downtown LA.

Fever Dreams,” Mt. San Antonio College. 1100 N. Grand Ave., Walnut;
through Dec. 6.

Nature Worship,” Mash Gallery, 1325 Palmetto St., downtown;
through Nov. 10.

Art & Feminism: Kimberly Brooks Speaking & Moderating Panel at the ACE Hotel Saturday

2:30-3:45 PM
Ace Hotel
Art+Feminism is an international public project established in 2013 in response to the gender gap on Wikipedia. A DIY project, A+F developed materials and methods so that anyone can organize in-person, communal editing events on content pertaining to women and the arts. Since the first Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in March, 2014, 4,600 participants have gathered at 280+ events worldwide, creating and improving 4,600 articles. A+F is based in New York at The Museum of Modern Art. You can learn more on the project website: Art+Feminism

Moderator: Kimberly Brooks, artist
Jacqueline Mabey, independent curator and co-founder, Art+Feminism
Michael Mandiberg, artist and co-founder, Art+Feminism
Stacey Allan, co-founder & executive editor at East of Borneo
Kai Alexis Smith, Academic Research Librarian, Cal Poly Pomona

Click here for more info and sign up/RSVP >

You are invited to join us at Ace Hotel for Wikipedia Day Los Angeles 2017, a Wikipedia celebration and mini-conference as part of the project’s global 16th birthday festivities. In addition to the party, the event will be a participatory unconference, with plenary panels, lightning talks, and of course, open space sessions.

Art + Culture Print Exhibition, NY, NY

"Portrait of Layla" "Portrait of Arjun" Limited Edition Prints

Art+Culture Projects
51 7th Ave (between 13th and 14th Streets)

We are delighted to introduce work by Kimberly Brooks in our new exhibition, curated by Kathy Battista, I’ll Be Your Mirror, featuring new limited edition prints by Betty Tompkins, Cheryl Donegan, Cindy Hinant, Lucy Liu and Narcissister.

Kimberly Brooks prints are from her exhibition “I Notice People Disappear”. Brooks is an American painter who blends figuration and abstraction to focus on a variety of subjects dealing with memory, history and identity. Born in New York she now lives and works in LA where she studied painting at UCLA. Solo exhibitions include: Thread and Bone, The Cooper Building, Los Angeles (2015); I Have a King Who Does Not Speak, Roosevelt Library, TX (2014); I Notice People Disappear, ArtHouse429, FL (2014); Thread, Taylor de Cordoba, Los Angeles (2011); The Stylist Project: Los Angeles, Taylor de Cordoba, Los Angeles (2010); Technicolor Summer, Taylor de Cordoba, Los Angeles (2008); Mom’s Friends, Taylor de Cordoba, Los Angeles (2007); and The Whole Story, RiskPress Gallery, Los Angeles (2006). Group shows include: Mirroring: Refraction Through the Female Gaze, Mirus Gallery, San Francisco (2013); Forest from the Trees, White Box Gallery, San Diego (2013); Sense and Sensibility, Mt. San Antonio College, CA (2013); Incognito, Santa Monica Museum of Art, CA (2010); Women of Women: The Female Form, Taylor de Cordoba, Los Angeles (2010); ArtHaus: Los Angeles | Berlin, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, CA (2009); and Made in California: Eight Artists, Santa Monica, CA (2009).

We will also be showing limited edition artwork by Sarah Cain, Anna Sew Hoy, Betty Tompkins, Monica Majoli, Ruby Sky Stiler, Virginia Poundstone, Liam Gillick, Scott Reeder, Alejandro Diaz, Tony Tasset and Yinka Shonibare. Proceeds from the sale of these works will benefit our cultural partners MCA Chicago, RISD Museum, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and Artadia.

Art+Culture Projects is a publisher of print editions and multiples produced in partnership with artists, curators, cultural institutions, non-profits, museums and commercial galleries. Our mission is to broaden awareness of the artists who are shaping our cultural legacy while creating a sustainable source of income for both artists and the programs – whether non-profit or commercial – that are showcasing innovative artistic practice.

All artworks are available to view and purchase now at To purchase prints click here. For further information please contact

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Q&A Kimberly Brooks: Fashionable sculpture for historic Cooper building


June 11, 2015

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The historic Cooper building sits in the heart of downtown L.A.’s fashion district, and now a new sculpture hangs in the heart of that heart: The Cooper announced Wednesday it has permanently acquired artist Kimberly Brooks’ 8-foot-tall uncoated steel pendant “The Ephemerality of Manner,” which evokes a Victorian-era hoop skirt housing a woman’s muscled legs kicking outward.

The piece, the first art to be permanently added to the 1927 building, is part of Brooks’ site-specific installation “Thread and Bone,” which can be seen through July 24. It stitches together video, collage work, textile pieces, performance and the welded steel sculpture, the centerpiece. As it dangles from the lobby ceiling, casting shapes and shadows in the windows, the sculpture is shot through with subtle complexities and contradictions traversing fashion, feminism, architecture and art history.

Brooks, who teaches painting at Otis College of Art and Design in L.A., recently attended the Museum of Contemporary Art’s rocking gala, joined by her husband, the actor Albert Brooks. But more work lies ahead: She is creating four new sculptures for other fashion district buildings. “Thread and Bone,” commissioned by the Cooper, was a co-production of the Do Art nonprofit public art foundation and the Sage Projects consultancy. A closing performance will take place later this summer, after which the sculptural element will remain. “It just looks like it belongs here,” Brooks said during a recent conversation.

This is such a site-specific work. How did the space inform the piece?

The Cooper had asked me to do a painting show. But I walked in and instantly saw an installation with this gigantic sculpture and a video. The walls are so high that a bunch of paintings, with these giant cement pillars, would just feel dwarfed. I felt like you needed something to anchor the space on a big level, and you needed textile because this is the fashion district. I knew I wanted tall, dramatic drapes to soften the cement pillars. So in addition to the steel sculpture and the video, I bought bolts of this gray linen in the fabric mart to make the 20-foot-tall curtains around the room and used the same material to stage a performance piece the night of the opening.

How did the people in the Cooper building, and fashion itself, factor in as you were conceptualizing the piece?

This room, the lobby, was completely white and bare but the people were these walking works of art. So I sat down and just watched. All these people walking around here are so hipster fabulous, they’re very stylish. I began thinking: What makes fashion interesting other than being a language within painting? And that is: It sort of binds us and frees us at the same time. I kept going back to this time in history when fashion was sort of at its most exaggerated with these crinoline, large forms — they were undergarments made of wire — so I started scouring for imagery that evoked this form.

I took my paintings from my The Stylist Project. I have very high-resolution images of them — they were oil paintings — and I literally cut out the fabric that I had painted and draped it over the forms. I created these digital prints of collages integrating photography and painting.

The centerpiece of your installation, the metal sculpture, is both abstract and narrative at once, casting geometric reflections in the building’s windows and nodding to fashion history. Can you tell us about it?

It’s welded steel, 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. I worked with a fabricator to create it. But before that stage, I used metal sheets of copper that I cut into thin strips to create these little maquettes to work with when designing the sculpture. They’re amazing to work with, different than wire. That’s how I created the thickness and the legs and the angles I wanted them to be at. I wanted the legs to be muscular, not dainty. I wanted it to be sort of fierce. Fashion so much expresses the state of the rights of women at the time, and I wanted to tilt on its head your recollections of this era, in the late 1800s, when women didn’t even vote.

What were you trying to say with the title of the piece?

I called it, initially, “The Ephemerality of Style.” Because I loved the fact that it would last forever — the material, itself, is so permanent and brutal, uncoated steel. Then I thought “style” isn’t quite the right word. I renamed it “The Ephemerality of Manner.” I wanted to remind people walking through the building that right now X, Y and Z is in fashion in their minds, but it comes and goes quickly. I wanted to show something that is totally out of fashion now — a Victorian undergarment — but that will be here forever, both ephemeral and permanent at the same time. And this was all before I knew they’d be keeping it in the building as a permanent sculpture.

The video portion of the installation — black-and-white imagery depicting giant scissors in tiny hands working through ripples of gray silk — is this sort of textured, almost sensual counterpoint to the steel sculpture that hangs opposite it. Why add the video?

This is a historic building, the heart of the fashion district. People come here from all over the country. The video of sewing and cutting is about the root of what goes on in this building. It’s a 2 minute, 18 second video piece called “Labor.” I shot it on my iPhone. Those are my daughter’s and a bunch her friends’ hands. I bought gray and black fabric because I wanted to get that reflective quality, and I used big, thick needles and thread so you could really see it.

We’re so removed from how things are made now. We’re constantly looking at our devices, and I wanted to just kind of go back to the roots of the beginning of how things are made when you talk about fashion: somebody cutting and sewing. And that provides a juxtaposition to the outcome of what walks back and forth through this building, all these people wearing all this stuff — and they get to see that.

What are you envisioning for the new fashion district sculptures — and what inspires you about the downtown L.A. landscape?

Members of the Downtown L.A. fashion district BID [Business Improvement District] saw the Cooper installation and are now commissioning me to do four new sculptures at four different locations on Broadway including in front of the Ace Hotel. It’s a project in partnership with the Think Tank Gallery.

I’m envisioning a combination of steel and a weather-tolerant fabric that will provide shade, even a sanctuary. What inspires me about the downtown landscape is the streamlined and curved lines of the Art Deco architecture with the rush of modern bohemia that has transformed the entire area in the last decade.

You’re also working on a book?

I’m working on a coffee table book, a catalogue raisonne so to speak, that comes out in February. And I’m also writing a book about painting. I think there’s a book that’s missing in all the books that you buy about painting. This one is more about artists. It’s about being a painter and the kinds of things that you have to work with beyond just the practical techniques in the studio, but also as they relate to the world and your mind and the whole process of making art.

Is there another meme you’re plumbing, beyond fashion, for future art works? And how is that taking shape, practically?

I’ve been exploring memory as something really fluid that you can have as your own or tap into other peoples’, even people who have died. Even this piece — dipping into another era to articulate something today, the swirling of memory, history, identity, fashion, everything. As an artist, you’re building a vocabulary, always. So every language that you perfect becomes like a player on a stage in your mind. I’d explored portraiture really deeply, and that was like a character in my mind; I explored my own past, my distant past; then I explored fashion. Now memory. All of these things start to build and that’s why as artists, we keep hopefully getting better and our work evolves.

In my studio, I’ve been working on paper lately. I’m fascinated by the way that working on paper — with ink and wash and watercolor, even oil — forces you to be in the moment. You can’t go in and change it if you don’t like it. You can’t scrub it away like you can on canvas or even linen. So I think where I’m going with my artwork, is about exploring collage and paper and painting as they come together with technology.

But to me, really, the world we live in, everything, is fodder for making art, whether it’s fashion or the wheels of a car. Everything on some level holds fascination for an artist.



SOLD OUT: 1 Week Summer Painting Workshop ANDERSON RANCH ARTS Center in CO, July 6 – 10, 2015



Kimberly Brooks

DATES: July 6 – 10, 2015


CONCEPT: If painting is a grand mansion with the foyer being realism, we walk through the door, and explore the surrounding rooms of figuration to abstraction. Students are exposed to practical techniques involving building different types of grounds, color mixing, and when to employ tightness vs. looseness. We look at techniques for keeping ones’ work as fresh as possible, simultaneously the scaffolding to create bodies of work for an exhibition.

MEDIA & TECHNIQUES: With an emphasis on safe studio practices, students learn techniques for oil painting (used by Rembrandt and Velasquez) that minimize exposure to toxic chemicals. As modern technology is a painter’s powerful ally, computer technologies will be incorporated for students who are interested in integrating digital tools with their practice.

ACTIVITIES: We will begin with initial technical instruction and demonstrations and then move on to produce multiple paintings from beginning to end over the course of the week.

FACULTY: Kimberly Brooks is a contemporary American painter that blends figuration and abstraction to explore a variety of subjects dealing with memory, history and identity. Kimberly exhibits nationally. Her work has been showcased in numerous publications and exhibitions.

Tuition: $920 OR Tuition + Studio Support Donation: $1120
Studio Fee: $75

Workshop Registration begins January 2, 2015


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SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS: Brooks allows viewers to fill in details in her opulent paintings


Nov 28, 2014


In Kimberly Brooks’ recent paintings, filmy, oppulently dressed figures from another age float in silk-draped salons and leafy estate landscapes.

Like a cinder caught in the mind’s eye, their facelessness fires our imagination — much as we internally draw characters while reading dusty novels, filling in our own details.

“I love the unfinished,” said the fortysomething Los Angeles painter, whose exhibition “I Have a King Who Does Not Speak” continues through Jan. 14 at Roosevelt Library, 311 Roosevelt Ave., on the city’s South Side. “It’s always the areas of a canvas that are least finished that I’m most attracted to. I have to resist the urge to complete.”


Brooks, a graduated as an English Major at UC Berkeley, calls on literature, history, theater, portraiture and abstraction to create her cryptic visual narratives (see “The Myth of What Happened by the Tree and the River”), which tweak memories that remain just out of reach, like thoughts on the tip of the tongue.

Paintings such as “Parlour Room” are sumptuous and mysterious. Sunlight sweeps into a dark-paneled room from large windows, creating dancing patterns on the floor, yet leaving a standing figure — a woman in a long scarlet-colored dress — in shadow. And who is the kneeling figure in the foreground?

“I wanted to capture the feel of mahogany and velvet and iron,” Brooks said.

Paint runs and loose brushstrokes are evident in “I Was There and It Was Devine,” a scene of ghostly women in a ballroom. Brooks conjures a melancholy sense of a wonderful evening winding down — and all these women are going home alone.

“I wanted to capture the mood of silk in that painting,” Brooks said.

She explains her work as “resuscitating the memory of some great moment and holding it still.”


The title of the exhibition refers to those voices from art history that speak to contemporary artists — whether they want to hear them or not. Painters as varied as Courbet and Dali echo in Brooks’ work.

“As each painting teeters between abstraction and representation, Brooks’ work touches on her own understanding of how painters see and process the visual remnants of history,” said exhibition curator Alice Carrington Foultz. “It’s like taking something old and bringing it back to life. And I just love the way she applies paint. A dress can be a few brushstrokes. It’s almost transparent, but the colors are so rich. That’s hard to do. And of course I love the way she is able to leave spaces for the viewer to fill in.”

Florida artist and curator Bruce Helander, who recently organized a Brooks show at Arthouse 429 in West Palm Beach, said Brooks creates “guilty pictorial pleasures.”

In an essay on Brooks’ art, Helander wrote that she “lays down an eccentrically handsome collection of quasi-surrealist strokes inducing the sensation of reliving a vintage portrait snapped from another time, like a recollection of sitting next to a dapper dinner guest at a black-tie event and wondering about his ancestry.”

The centerpiece of “King Who Does Not Speak” is undoubtedly “Unknown Ancestor,” a portrait of a vaguely Victorian woman in a white dress reclining in an outdoor setting rendered in wild brushstrokes that evoke an emotional physicality over what is a calm setting. Two small strokes evoke eye sockets, and that’s all we get of the face.

“When we read, we create pictures in our minds,” Brooks said. “And usually your mind will be pregnant with scenes from someone else’s memory. I want to acknowledge my own imagination while creating images that allow viewers to fall into them and create memories from their own imaginations. It’s the lack of clarity in the work that moves me.”