REVIEW: WhiteHot Magazine by Daniel Maidman

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When I was in film school, before the millennium, we were instructed always to reserve some time at the end of shooting in each room. During this time, we were to record several minutes of silence in the room. This “room tone” could then be seamlessly woven in wherever sound editing called for dialogue shot in that space to pause. 

The point of room tone was that the ear can hear a mismatch if two different silences are welded together in the editing. No two silences are alike. Silence is full of timbre. Each room has a personality which comes to the fore in the quiet that falls after its occupants have left.

This concept comes to mind when considering many of the paintings in Kimberly Brooks’s solo show Brazen, at Zevitas Marcus in Los Angeles.

Painting is sight, but some painters naturally summon other senses in service of their imagery. Brooks summons sound, and yet she does not imply noises. She is a painter of silence, of the full, textured silence of room tone. The rooms she depicts are stately and filled with luxurious objects. People have perpetually just vacated them. Their conversations or laughter have fallen away. There is a stuffy close quality to the air. It is trapped and moves only in tiny currents. The personality of these rooms comes into focus now that they are empty.

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REVIEW: Art Scene by Andy Brumer

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

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“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.

BlouinArtInfo Review

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Continuing her tense on-going battle between abstraction and literal representation, Kimberly Brooks’ latest selection of oil paintings are being displayed in Los Angeles at the Zevitas Marcus gallery.

Brooks explores the theme of human gestures, pillaging the imagery of well-known historical events to reproduce an entirely new story within that very same context. Her work is an amalgamation of figures, landscapes, still life and interiors. She blends into it her own personal experiences that go on to create a skilful fusion of historical and contemporary perspectives. As an artist Brooks has depended on the abstract, but never completely embraced it, though one can sense an on-going tension between representation and abstraction in her works. The recent paintings seem to tilt towards abstraction in many ways. Brooks uses it to divide the materiality of history, like in ‘Museum Wall’. She then invites viewers to dive inside the frame to experience the history as it happened and her depiction of it, which she does in ‘Blue Angels’. The works may have their sources in known historical events, but Brooks has no intention of reporting about them per say, instead she accesses her honed ability of painting that can directly construct meaning. The grand interiors, ornamentation and religious icons in her works are deconstructed from their traditional forms and are aligned within our contemporary culture with a renewed range of meaning.

Kimberly Brooks is a graduate from UC Berkeley in Literature and worked as a writer before choosing the brush over the pen. Brooks studied Painting at UCLA and OTIS. Her work has been the focus of several solo and group exhibitions organized by curators from Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, California Institute of the Arts and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She lives and works in Los Angeles where this exhibition will take place. Zevitas Marcus is located in Los Angeles’ gallery district, Culver City.

The exhibition will be on view through September 9 – October 21, 2017 at Zevitas Marcus 2754 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90034

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EXHIBITION “Brazen” Zevitas Marcus

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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