Huffington Post: Kimberly Brooks’ The Stylist Project Debuts in Los Angeles

March 2, 2010 | Ellen Caldwell

In Victor Bockris’ biography on Andy Warhol, Warhol describes his dream of attending one of his famed parties and mingling with all of his paintings’ subjects who have magically come to life around him.

Last night, painter Kimberly Brooks got to live out Warhol’s dream. Brooks’ current solo show “The Stylist Project” opened Saturday at Culver City gallery Taylor De Cordoba and last night, Vanity Fair, Dior, and Taylor de Cordoba came together to throw a one-night-only soiree benefiting P.S. Arts .

Rose Apodaca in front of “Rose Apodoca” Oil on Linen

Kimberly’s endeavor is lofty — she has gathered stylists and fashion icons who function somewhat like the Wizard of Oz, working behind the scenes to shape current trends and styles. One by one, she has asked these trend-shapers to style themselves and sit for her in the comfort of their own homes, closets, apartments, or backyards. The effect is at once compelling and inviting. Brooks turns the camera and canvas onto those who are more accustomed to being behind them, but in doing so, she establishes a level of comfort with the stylists that is not only recognizable in the portraits, but also felt at the crowded event.

Weaving in and out of the gallery’s rooms, attendees could see Brooks’ jewel-toned portraits intermingled with the portrayed stylists themselves, including Janie Bryant, Nancy Steiner, Rose Apodaca, Cameron Silver, Jessica Paster, and Arianne Philips – to name a few. What was extraordinary about the night is that here you had an event with 15 portraits of unique people who aren’t necessarily famous or immediately recognizable, but they were all in the room with you and with their art. Imagine if you went to a museum, and all the people in the paintings were alive and interactive. That’s exactly what happened Monday and it was fascinating — taking the night out of the realm of static art show, and making it a real happening.

Ginnifer Goodwin

Actor Ginnifer Goodwin sat for her portrait two weeks before the show and her portrait was promptly sold with 100% of the proceeds gone to benefit P.S. Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s lives by bringing arts education to under-served schools and their communities.

Notable attendees included Michael Govan, Norman Lear, Arianna Huffington, Abbie Cornish, Nia Vardalos, Ginnifer Goodwin, James Van Der Beek, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jordana Brewster, Marisa Tomei, Perrey Reeves and Christina Hendricks.

“The Stylist Project” runs at Taylor De Cordoba 2660 S. La Cienega Blvd., through April 3, 2010.

944: ArtForm

Kimberly Brooks’ The Stylist Project is a series of portraits that focuses on the professional stylist and fashion-industry insider as its subjects.  The Los Angeles exhibition features paintings of some of the world’s most influential style-makers, including owner A + R and former WWD Bureau Chief Rose Apodaca; Madonna’s personal stylist Arianne Phillips; New York Times Magazine stylist Elizabeth Stewart; Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant; and stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe, among others.
By bringing these behind the scenes players on canvas, The Stylist Project comments on fashion and those responsible for setting the trends.  As Brooks says, “It’s great to contribute to a conversation about fashion and art — about fashion in art.”
Shortly after her successful 2007 exhibit Mom’s Friends, which focused Brooks’ brush on the personal relationships of her mother, as seen from Brooks’s childhood perspective, the artist found inspiration in the influence of Coco Chanel on the works of Henri Matisse.  However, whereas Matisse’s work was influenced indirectly, Brooks sought to make fashion and style the subject of a series while reflecting the personality within a portrait.  Apodaca adds, “I decided to wear the dress I was married in just the year before.  That, the vintage horn chair, the rush of color… it all just seems very personal when I look at it.”
Stewart was also impressed by the artist’s dedication to a soulful rendering, saying, “She came into my home and worked with me on the setting… it was very important to her that it reflected me and my style.”
Fashion, more than any other art form, is temporal; it shifts from season to season. Although there is a hyper-articulate niche in society that directly engages in a dialogue about fashion-as-an-art, it is most commonly a passive interaction.  Brooks is conscious of this fleeting nature, saying, “Someone will get dressed up only for a moment — for a movie, a TV show, a red carpet – and it comes and it goes.  I wonder – what will theses portraits look like in a hundred years?”
Check out The Stylist Project, on exhibition at the Taylor de Cordoba Gallery, Tuesday thru Staurday, 11 am. – 5:30 pm, until April 3
by Panagiotis Giokas

Peter Clothier- The Buddah Diaries

Excerpt from The Buddah Diaries Sunday March 6, 2010
“….So let’s take a look at Kimberly’s work. She’s a proficient painter, mostly pictures of people in environments that could be called “genre paintings,” and she has been concentrating recently on portraiture in what she identifies as “The Stylist Project.” They are portraits, mostly, of women, presumably themselves stylists for the movies, advertising, or the fashion industry. I have to confess ignorance on this score. But they are, we sense, comfortable enough in the material aspect of their lives and for the most part in themselves, for who they are. They are in touch with their own sensuality, with the physical world, and clearly enjoy the pleasures of clothing, jewelry, shoes, ranging from high-end designer to art-world eccentric.
There is, in these portraits, certainly, a celebration of the feminine, a delight in the “style” these women create for themselves and project. At the same time, there is an awareness of the inherent paradox of “style”–that, while glamorous, it carries with it the seeds of its own superficiality, its attachment to outward appearances–which is implicit in what I take to be a hint of satire in these paintings. In making a “project” of the series, I’m assuming that the artist is wanting to discover, in the paintings, something about what these people share in common, how their passion for style is reflected in the way in which they present themselves to the world. What she arrives at is an observation of our culture that suggests a fascinating surface–and a disturbing depth.”