Vanity Fair: Kimberly Brooks Shows Her Oil Paintings at Taylor De Cordoba Gallery in L.A.

….Brooks’ latest oeuvre abandons the Hockney-like light-saturated planes of color and the Matisse-like flat decorative patterning that she deployed so skillfully in my portrait. Driven and prolific, the artist within a year has moved on to a darker, more deconstructed mood, to a Bacon-like paring down to ripened, abstracted essences. The new oil paintings—you can almost smell the fresh pigment, even in reproduction—are on exhibit from September 10 to October 22 at the Taylor De Cordoba gallery in Los Angeles. The show’s title, “Thread,” explains Kimberly (who loves fashion as much as paint), alludes “to the thread we use to weave, to adorn us in our clothing and what also connects us together, regardless of time period or culture.”

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LA Weekly: Events

Someday, art lovers will have the technology to attend 50 receptions across as many square miles in the space of two hours — but not this Saturday, when what seems like half the galleris in L.A. simultaneously present blockbuster season-openers.  Culver City makes this Hobson’s choice [of which exhibition to attend] a bit easier, offering a density of must-see exhibitions within a walkable geography….Kimberly Brooks returns to Taylor De Cordoba with haunting, fashion-forward portraiture.” – Shana Nys Dambrot

Naked Summer Newsletter 2011

In an interview with artist Ethan Murrow, I depicted a spectrum I call “The Nudist and The Chemist”. On one side, there is “The Chemist”, who works in a pristine lab with a Bunsen Burner and the thinnest of pipette; on the other, there is “The Nudist”, who slathers paint with a spatula in one hand, a glass of wine in the other, all- while naked. While every artist’s approach is different, I’m leaning towards “The Nudist”.  I think of the elder Matisse, who worked in bed into his eighties with yards of fabric, a big pair of scissors and sunglasses that the doctor prescribed he wear for fear the colors might get him too excited.

For this recent show I’ve been painting directly on oil primed linen, stapling it to the wall and then stretching it afterwards. All the themes I’ve been working on as a painter — portraiture, narrative, the language of costume– have melted into one another the way meat falls off the bone after it’s been roasting for a long time– no longer recognizable in its former incarnation, but more succulent. Whereas my previous exhibitions revolved around specific subjects, including people wearing specific types of styles (“Mom’s Friends”) or people who wield style altogether (“The Stylist Project”), I now let folds and patterns serve as a vehicle for a kind of abstraction.  I’ve created a series of “unportraits” where the figure no longer serves a purpose like telling a story. It’s a shape, a part of the painting.

Thread by Kimberly Brooks at Taylor De Cordoba

Kimberly Brooks “Punk History” Oil on Linen 40 x 36 in.


PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
Kimberly Brooks: “Thread”, September 10 – October 22, 2011 Opening Reception: Saturday September 10, 2011 6pm – 8pm

Taylor De Cordoba is pleased to present “Thread”, a solo exhibition of new oil paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Kimberly Brooks. The exhibition will run from September 10 – October 22. The gallery will host an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, September 10 from 6pm-8pm.

In her latest body of work, Kimberly Brooks continues to explore portraiture, specifically the complexities of representations of female identities. While in her previous series, including Mom’s Friends (2007) and The Stylist Project (2010), the artist used figures to construct narratives, here the female form is part of a broader abstracted landscape. And while earlier portraits boasted an uncanny likenesses to their subjects, Brooks’ style has shifted into something that is simultaneously looser and richer. Facial features have been abstracted and bodies distorted. Fashion and costume, a longtime theme for Brooks, is also deconstructed. Once painstakingly rendered folds and drapes have been reduced to their essential shapes and color fields. In these sumptuous new images, Brooks continues to addresses questions about how we frame beauty, and the phenomenon of fashion as a both pop culture and artistic touchstone.   Taken as a whole, the new paintings create a meta-narrative that contemplates “threads” that define, unite and separate us across different cultures and eras.

Kimberly Brooksʼ work has been featured in numerous juried exhibitions organized by curators from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Her work has been featured in numerous including the Los Angeles Times, Art Ltd., Daily Serving, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, Vogue, among other publications.

For additional information and images, please contact Heather Taylor at 310-559-9156 or Taylor De Cordoba is located at 2660 South La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. The gallery is open from Tuesday – Saturday, 11AM – 6PM.

Exhibition: Kimberly Brooks Miniatures, April, 2011

“Ginnifer Study” 6 x 8″ Oil on linen 2010 Kimberly Brooks


Taylor De Cordoba is pleased to present new works by Kimberly Brooks as a part of their 5 Year Anniversary Exhibition.   For years Brooks has painted tiny canvases before creating larger paintings as an excersize in palette and composition.  The resulting loose brushwork and abstractions provide an embrionic view of later paintings but are works in their own right.  The exhibition will run from April 9 – May 14, 2011, with a reception on Saturday, April 9 from 6 – 8pm.   In addition to the miniatures, the gallery will feature one new piece by each represented artist, whose visions have shaped the face of the gallery including Sasha Bezzubov, Kyle Field, Timothy Hull, Charlene Liu, Melissa Manfull, Danielle Nelson Mourning, Chris Natrop, Claire Oswalt, Jeana Sohn, Frohawk Two Feathers.

Taylor De Cordoba opened its doors to the public on April 15, 2006. Since then, the gallery has mounted over thirty exhibitions, participated in numerous art fairs, and launched a lauded bi-monthly reading series. Taylor De Cordoba and gallery represented artists have been featured in local and international publications, including: Frieze, Art in America, Artforum, Artweek, Art LTD, V Magazine, Elle, Vanity Fair, W Magazine, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, LA Weekly, Beautiful Decay, C Magazine, Whitewall, The Huffington Post, LA Confidential, Angeleno and more. Los Angeles natives Heather Taylor and Alex de Cordoba co-own the gallery. Taylor De Cordoba is located at 2660 S La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, CA and is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday, 11am-6pm. For additional press information, please contact Heather Taylor at or (310) 559-9156.

INCOGNITO Santa Monica Museum of Art

Santa Monica Art Museum:
INCOGNITO Exhibition and Art Sale
Saturday, April 30, 2011, 7 to 10:00 p.m.

Kimberly Brooks will have a piece in INCOGNITO, an art exhibition and sale at the Santa Monica Museum of Art featuring works by hundreds of acclaimed artists from Los Angeles and across the globe in an 8” x 10″ format. “Trust Your Instincts” to guide your selections, as everything is signed on the back, and artist identities are revealed only after purchase. Proceeds directly support the Museum.  Participating atists include John Baldessari, Laura Owens, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger.  INCOGNITO includes a festive reception.

New American Paintings #103

Kimberly Brooks’ work is featured in the recent Pacific Coast Edition of New American Paintings, Juried Exhibitions in Print.


New American Paintings is the most prestigious Print Exhibitions in North America, Distributed Internationally and receives over five thousand submissions annually. You can pick it up at your local newsstand or order one online here:


INCOGNITO Exhibition and Art Sale

Santa Monica Art Museum:
INCOGNITO Exhibition and Art Sale
Saturday, May 1, 7 to 10:00 p.m.

Kimberly Brooks will have a piece in INCOGNITO, an art exhibition and sale at the Santa Monica Museum of Art featuring works by hundreds of acclaimed artists from Los Angeles and across the globe in an 8” x 10″ format. All are on sale for $300 each. “Trust Your Instincts” to guide your selections, as everything is signed on the back, and artist identities are revealed only after purchase. Proceeds directly support the Museum.  Participating atists include John Baldessari, Laura Owens, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger.  INCOGNITO includes a festive reception.

Allison Gibson: The Stylist Project

KIMBERLY BROOKS: The Stylist Project

The history of portraiture is in many ways a history of influence. Most portrait subjects held a certain degree of influence over the church, the state, and the cultural climates of their times—fashion trends of course among the latter. From monarchs to wealthy arts patrons to courtesans lying languidly on chaise lounges, the figures rendered by painters throughout the history of art have served as veritable cover models. To view their portraits hanging on the walls of the Academy was not only to behold the work of the masters but also to check out the latest style trends.

Maybe it’s a stretch to think of the Academy as a proto-Vogue, but the art world has certainly maintained an open flirtation with the fashion industry since long before even Andy Warhol trotted his wacky wigs around Studio 54 with the likes of Diane von Fürstenberg. And while these days there is more collaboration between the two fields than ever before, the most compelling form for illustrating this interplay remains portraiture.


With The Stylist Project, Los Angeles-based artist Kimberly Brooks gives us the contemporary answer to this portrayal by painting the those whose newly minted power holds great influence on today’s fashion culture: the stylists.

In her series of oil painted portraits, Brooks shines a spotlight not on fashion’s cover girls but on the industry’s most iconic tastemakers. These are women and men who, while famous by name, rarely find themselves in the limelight: after all, theirs too is the work of the artist rather than the sitter, styling models and celebrities for editorial spreads in high fashion glossies and prepping them for flashbulbs that fire at red carpets. At the end of the day, they influence the trends because they control the fashion world’s visual message.

An avid student of form, Brooks’s work draws heavily on the historical tradition of fine art portraiture. The regal positions of some of her sitters call to mind Renaissance royals, and the sprawled poses of others, such as Emmy Award winning Mad Men Costume Designer Janie Bryant, can’t help but conjure the seductive early Modernist masterpieces of Manet. In this way, The Stylist Project creates a dialog between the editorial and the art historical, between what Brooks calls “the ephemeral nature of the fashion cycle” and the enduring power of oil paintings.

While glamorous on the surface, Brooks’s work also captures an underlying tension that exists between the luxuriousness of the world where these stylists and creative directors work and the suggestion of at least a few of the figures’ unease at being thrust for the first time into starring roles.

In the case of longtime Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington—whose face has recently become as familiar to the public as it’s long been to fashion industry insiders thanks to the popular documentary “The September Issue” and her own recently released memoir—the allure of the portraits lies in their intimacy. Here we have Grace Coddington, not of Condé Nast’s frenzied 12th floor, but as a quiet creative. Painted in her own Prada, she appears as unembellished as she does in the raw photographs that Brooks captured during their one-on-one session at Ms. Coddington’s apartment.

In every piece, Brooks handles the paint with generosity and with restraint. There are moments of vivid realism: the texture of the leopard print rug upon which Grace Coddington lays is as richly rendered as any luxury textile, and the colors are as vibrant as any seen on Fashion Week runways. Other details she’s chosen to soften to an almost impressionistic gesture—especially her handling of this subject’s famous and otherwise unruly red hair.

Each subject in the series has styled herself. And each poses not in the artist’s studio but in the comfort of her own home, taking a cue from the Northern Renaissance trend toward depicting a more authentic tableau. In the same way, each object on the sitters’ bookshelves and console tables reflects the iconography of our time, so that the wedding photo behind New York Times fashion editor turned top celebrity stylist Elizabeth Stewart informs her portrait as much as the ankle wrap sandals she has chosen to wear. The result is an honest look at a fleeting moment in the life of somebody who traffics in the equally as fleeting fashion industry.

Brooks conceived the idea while working on her series Mom’s Friends — an intensely personal project about her mother and her mother’s friends in the 70s.  Pursuing fashion as a language within portraiture, she attended lecture at LACMA about the influence of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli’s fashions on the paintings of Matisse.  Surrounded by unimaginely dressed women of the costume council, it occurred to Brooks to explore fashion’s influence as a subject in and of itself and the people who influence fashion from the top.

As it has developed, The Stylist Project has become both a celebration of, and a study in, the influences that fashion and art continue to have on one another. The work is a time-stamped look at the fashions and tastemakers of the moment, and it is also an addition to the timeless tradition of portraiture.