Kelsey Brookes opened his first USA solo last night (11.1.08) to a packed house @ New Image Art on Santa Monica Blvd. Brookes’s new work increases the sense of awe and wonder found in his signature style with a “loosening” of the rendering – where once the female forms had sharply defined contours and rendered details, they are now symbolic canvases for his seemingly limitless constellation of brightly colored micro scenes and characters. This is art that you can stare at for hours – from a far the small characters, shapes and patterns read as a more or less abstract swirl of color. Up close, the smiley faces and characters engaged in all sorts of activity reward the careful viewer with a clear sense of joy.
This large body of new paintings features two particularly notable large round disc-like pieces. Placed side by side near the gallery entrance, these pieces rotate continuously – a fitting display for Brookes’s work which encourages prolonged viewing from multiple angles – both physical and perceptual.
The two large installations and the additional decorative flourishes added to the gallery make this show a definite must-see. An elaborate white wooden shrine in the main room features a mildly grotesque skeletal creature with an animal skull suspended with ornamental yarn charms. Candles flicker at the base of the shrine amid scattered petals obscure a very abstract painted form.
Towards the back of the gallery there’s a towering white fur creature with a circular spoke yarn pattern piece which evokes native american imagery. In contrast to the almost chilling vibe of the large shrine piece, this installation conveys a serene and perhaps cheerful mood.
Between the two installations, lies the gallery’s side alcove which has been covered completely from floor to ceiling in tapestries. The white wood ornamental piece framing the top of the entrance ties back aesthetically to the front shrine.
In addition to Kelsey’s art, live music rounded out the opening reception. Artichoke Heart Soúffle kicked off the evening and was followed towards the end of the evening by Glasser whose performance included interpretative dance. Beautiful vocals and clever choreography made for an entertaining interlude.
If you’re a fan or collector of Kelsey Brookes, this is a must-see show. If you’re not familiar with his work, now is an excellent time to get acquainted. We’re pretty sure you’ll be seeing plenty more from Mr. Brookes. The show runs until December 3rd.
New Image Art
7908 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046