“Mom’s Friends” Solo Show at Taylor De Cordoba

TAYLOR DE CORDOBA
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kimberly Brooks: Mom’s Friends
Opening Reception: Saturday March 3rd, 2007, 6-9pm

Taylor De Cordoba is pleased to present Mom’s Friends, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Kimberly Brooks.

In her first solo exhibition at Taylor De Cordoba, Kimberly Brooks explores issues of feminine identity, nostalgia, idolization and womanhood. She introduces the women she literally looked up to as a child, “Mom’s Friends.” The show will feature gouache studies and oil paintings depicting the women who helped to form her own identity while growing up in Marin County in the late 1970’s.

In the wake of the Sexual Revolution, the model of a modern woman was taking shape. Brooks paints sexy, confident and stylish women in their element: cooling their feet in the pool, waiting at the train station, contemplating amidst the woods of Big Sur and laughing at parties. She invokes the fashions of the time with her representations of luscious furs, bold patterns, oversize sunglasses and unique flea market finds. In the span of a few years, nearly all of these women in her mom’s circle of friends would find themselves divorced as a result infidelity, boredom and the need to establish their own identities. Brooks uses her own personal memories and photographs to re-create the harmonious and utopian moment just before it all came crashing down. The artist takes cues from traditional portraiture, fashion photography, 1970s Polaroids and today’s ubiquitous candid celebrity snapshots to create her modern style.

Kimberly Brooks’ work has been featured in numerous juried exhibitions organized by curators from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art and California Institute of the Arts among others. Brooks earned her B.A. from UC Berkeley and trained in fine arts at Otis College of Design and UCLA. She lives in Los Angeles and maintains her studio in Venice, CA.

Taylor De Cordoba is located at 2660 S La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, CA and is open from Tuesday – Saturday, 11am-6pm. For additional press information, contact Heather Taylor at heather@taylordecordoba.com or (310) 559-9156.

Preparing for Mom’s Friends

Liz Goldwyn was kind enough to pose for me in authentic 70s clothing from The Way We Wore on La Brea. (Not only is she luminous but also author of the magnificent book, Pretty Things)lizgoldwyn.jpg

I’m gathering old magazines from the 70s

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collecting textiles and hanging them all over the studio
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looking at 70s fashion on ebay…

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raiding all the old family photo albums

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(the artist at eight!)
It means making gouaches to work out palettes and compositions for the oil paintings.

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The Aesthetics of Memory

I’ve been perusing stacks of old photo albums to recall my mother and her friends’ style, their manner. The camera used from my childhood created these rather small square images. They’re very faded now. Mostly wide shots with the head smack in the middle. Our old photo albums are like everyone’s. Like the way old televisions shows’ newscasters have their heads smack in the middle of the screen.

The narrative of seeing all the pictures at once on an album page tells a story in a way that a single picture doesn’t. Even the aesthetics the photo album alters the way I recall past time. Today people either “scrapbook” where everything looks so ‘done’, or they never develop the photos since it’s on their computer/phone/email anyway. In the 70s there is a rawness to the hand of my mother haphazardly laying them on the sticky paper.

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Today, with disposal digital pictures (take twenty, keep one) people are much more experimental and favor tight shots and liberally clip the tops of heads. More prints are made, fewer treasured. I wonder if we’ll all reflect upon our future past with less preciousness as a result.

Leah Lehmbeck: Mom’s Friends

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The F-Word (“Feminism”) in Art by Leah Lehmbeck
On New Paintings by Kimberly Brooks

With Nancy Pelosi having taken her historic position at the rostrum and Hillary Clinton hitting the presidential campaign trail, we have undoubtedly entered a new era of feminism. The F-word is once again being bandied about, as is that perennial question, “Can we have it all?” And it is thus no surprise to find that in her latest series, “Mom’s Friends,” the artist Kimberly Brooks adds a new voice to the debate. In making her starting point her childhood in Marin County in the 1970s, Brooks concentrates on women who are, according to her, “endlessly fascinating and mysterious . . . particularly because they were in such a state of transition.” While Brooks explores the theme of womanhood through the imagery of female liberation some thirty years ago, she is also able to investigate to the complex relationship between reality, memory and representation.

The “woman question” has been continually up for discussion since the inception of modern feminism in the late 1960s. As universal as this topic is Brooks was specifically inspired by her role as the mother of a young daughter, saying in her artist statement: “Now that I am a mother with a daughter of my own, I see the way she studies me and my friends, how she imitates the way I walk and talk or wants to traipse in my heels”. Recalling how she used to do the same, Brooks turned to her own mother for inspiration, using photographs from the 1970s of her mother and her mother’s friends (actual, and recreated with friends in vintage clothing) as the basis for her work. By presenting women who migrated to California from the Midwest and East Coast and consequently “melted their inhibitions, heated up their styles and . . . shed previous notions of themselves,” Brooks’s paintings fix us at a significant time and place vis-à-vis the role of women. Indeed, beginning in the 1970s many of the women of that generation sought, for the first time, to forge their identities apart from their husbands and families. And it is this feature–their newfound autonomy–that Brooks presents, and inevitably positions, against the current state of feminism in her work.

Read whole review >

Mom’s Friends

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When I was a young girl, I remember my mother and her friends, their clothes, their dinner parties and their laughter, as a distinctly as a perfume.

 

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These women were not fifties housewives who stayed home and marvelled at the new technology of the dishwasher.

 

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This was Marin County in the 1970s, when love songs oozed from the radio, a geodesic dome spung from the lawn in our backyard and my mother put rhinestones on everything.

Now that I am a mother with a daughter of my own, I see the way she studies me and my friends, how she imitates the way I walk and talk or wants to traipse in my heels. While the imagery of women I paint in this series is unique to this time and place, the group itself is universal. In this series, investigate young mothers as a powerful subtribe around which everything evolves.