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This book chronicles shift in practice from figuration to abstraction in the paintings of Kimberly Brooks using the last five years of painting against the backdrop of her works on paper spanning her career. The book is published in conjunction with Mt San Antonio College. Beautiful color images, essays by Michael Wilson and Shana Nys Dambrot, and an Interview with curator Fatemeh Burnes fill this compilation.
The Exhibition at Mt San Antonio College exhibition, Fever Dreams, features new and recent paintings alongside smaller past works that span the last fifteen years of her career. The newer large paintings continue the narrative of ancient landscapes along with magical gold and silver doorways as an entry into an altered universe. In the large triptych "Through the Looking Glass" Brooks features an inception-like image of a landscape within another painting of a landscape. In "Jerusalem", a vibrant mosaic on silver dances next to and on top of a loose underpainting and geometric floor. In the diptych, "Bel Air", a vase-strewn ledge overlooks an ancient forest as if peering from a balcony within a tapestry. Appropriately, scenes depicted on these canvases seem to come from a fever dream, and the palpable tension between abstraction and representation continues in her work. This is in marked contrast to her early work, where Brooks depicted light as she saw it, reflected in pools and on the figure in shows such as "Mom's Friends" and "Technicolor Summer" from which many of the earlier studies come. Curiously, whether because of the small scale or medium of watercolor, gouache and oil, the looseness and abstraction in these studies, never before seen in public, have a much stronger connection to the new larger paintings than the works they were intended to anticipate. The juxtaposition of these two bodies from different times periods expose a foreshadowing and offers a first-hand look into the creative process of a painter as she wrestles with intention and acquiesces to the material and her imagination.
Kimberly Brooks integrates figuration and abstraction to explore a variety of subjects dealing with history, memory and identity. Exhibitions include Mom's Friends, Technicolor Summer, The Stylist Project, I Notice People Disappear, Brazen and most recently Fever Dreams at Mt San Antonio College (2018). Brooks paintings have been showcased in numerous juried exhibitions with artist curators including Chris Burden, Mira Schor and Museum curators from the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in or as covers for books from publishers including Bloomsbury, Hachette, Rizzoli and recently the featured subject of Brazen, A Collection of Paintings and Poetry by Griffith Moon. Her work has received international press and she was recently a featured artist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Also an educator, Brooks teaches workshops around the country including at Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles and The Anderson Ranch Art Center in Colorado. She is the recipient of the Franklyn Liegel Award for Teaching excellence.
Brooks was born in New York, NY and grew up in Mill Valley, California. She received a BA from UC Berkeley in Literature and studied painting at Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art & Design) and UCLA. She lives and works in Los Angeles.