by: Stuart Diamond

I have used some of Brook's writing, about her work, as a guide to ask myself questions about how words are partial clues for visual exploration. Toys are a useful substitute for the actual elements they represent. We feel them as playful symbols of amusement and something we can control. Their scale lets us have some psychic distance from the actual. Like art, the miniature toys free us temporarily from the full weight of the everyday. This change of relationship to subject lets we the artist manipulate visually and freely these symbolic substitutes.

I enjoyed the freshness, innovation and the immediacy of how she plays her shapes and forms abstractly, delaying the arrival of identity. It is in this delay of knowing that curiosity has room to explore. In # 7 the red horizontal ladder alludes to landscape which we read and feel at a different speed then the vertical which climaxes faster in a ascending and descending dialogue. The horizontal ladder can be perceived as more relaxing then its counterpart the vertical with its implied striving to get to the top and the fall downward. The white figures are at first white shapes, then gestures of bodies in motion. Their first role is to bring direction and pattern to the process of building a painting and then identity, sign and symbolic meaning. Using watercolor, a medium which melds into the ground and a softening of drawn edges, creates a time delay so that the viewer can't "GET IT" immediately.

# 5, 6, and 7 share a feeling of freshness. Their inventiveness may be coming from an intention to find a formulary of knowing what you want and how to get there. Subject matter is repeated in the diving or swimming figures (my subjective translation) but they play a role as directional and pattern elements before being probed as figuration signs.

The figure in #8 "Get Louise" continues the play of direction with her arms like the hands on a watch. She implies more content to be read into what role she represents. She points to the past and to the off centered rectangle which contains its own world with boundaries being crossed.

In work # 14 the identity of money, technically done well, so actual in identity and scale dominates, as money does. It's an interesting work and there is information in how it differs from some of the others.

I doubled back to Brook's writing and hadn't read the last line about her evolution from still lives (funny term) to landscapes so her intentions were coming across to me. Evolution is movement through time and space. She is feeling time in her working pattern and that is part of the energy they have. The works are not still, not contained and are read in time and in motion. Their organizational pattern is not obvious; her technique is not preoccupied with skill display. The horizontal format feels very fertile for her and she creates works that have surprises in how they arrive. These works were able to evoke my curiosity and feel alive to themselves. I've enjoyed this pause in my studio day to take my reflections elsewhere.

Stuart Diamond, Boston School of Fine Arts - Art Department Chairman, August 2012 


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