On the day of our studio visit painter Kimberly Brooks was just back from Paris and eager to show off a stash of vintage fashion drawings she had unearthed there – the kind with cascading heaps of tailored pink satin and elaborate salon interiors in the background. Also, she was about to host a cocktail party to unveil a just-completed wedding portrait of a friend – a ceremonial monument to youth and surreal beauty in which the bride’s voluminous red dress takes up all the room and tells the story of the picture. Although rendered with a crisp Asian-inflected symmetry, it was also reminiscent of those old Renaissance pictures of nobility where the richly made clothes were overly the focal point of the portrait, even more so than the sitter’s face sometimes. Continue reading
photo by Aleji Tenutta
Art Bistro- Review
by Emily Waldorf
The Stylist Project Asks, “Is Fashion Art?”
On Wednesday, April 21, LACMA’s Costume Council featured a brilliant presentation by artist Kimberly Brooks, “Art, Fame, and Fashion.” Brooks recently completed the Los Angeles component of the The Stylist Project, a series of oil paintings that will eventually be turned into a book. The Stylist Project hones in on today’s fashion influences and explores the delicate question of whether fashion is art and whether stylists are artists.
Brooks is represented by Taylor de Cordoba Gallery and her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Art Ltd., The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, Elle, C Magazine, as well as at juried shows at the Whitney and MoMA. For The Stylist Project, Brooks researched who today’s top trendsetters are, and asked them to sit for her in her studio in their own clothes. Her creative process includes taking hundreds of images of her subjects and then creating a maquette to work from. She lists the work of Henri Matisse and David Hockney as inspiration, which is clear through the sun-drenched colors and formal composition of her gorgeous paintings.
Brooks’ subjects include bold-faced L.A. fashion luminary names including Elizabeth Stewart, Liz Goldywn, Katherine Ross, Jeremy Scott, Jeanne Yang, Andrea Lieberman, and Rachel Zoe, among others. Part 2 of The Stylist Project is focused on New York’s haute fashionistas and will debut in Spring 2011. During her presentation, Brooks challenged the hierarchy of fine art versus applied arts and asked why hanging something on your wall is different than hanging something in your closet. She concluded that paintings can last hundreds of years but fashion is ephemeral by nature, so stylists are “artists of the everyday.”
Brooks’ presentation concluded with a roundtable discussion with two fashion stylistswho posed for her for The Stylist Project, Jeanne Yang and Elizabeth Stewart.
….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.”
I’ll be speaking on MOCA Contemporary’s Art Panel as the resident artist discussing “The Stylist Project” and much more with Curator Rose Apodaca, Stylists Arianne Phillips and Michael Schmidt. I hope you can join me.
6:30 Refreshments | 7:00 – 9:00 pm Panel | Ray Kurtzman Theater | Creative Artists Agency | 2000 Avenue of the Stars
Tickets $40 at mocacontemorariesfilm-rss.eventbrite.com | For more information call 213.633.5348
I hope you’ll join me for a slide-show presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this April about the visual inspirations and process for creating The Stylist Project. Two of my subjects, Jeanne Yang and Elizabeth Stewart will be joining me on stage for a panel discussion afterwards. Invitation below.