Greenberg Van Doren Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by the late abstract expressionist James Brooks (1906 -1992). This is the first survey devoted to paintings and works focused on Brooks’ use of the thematic stylistic elements of geometry and gesture. The show will be on view from October 29 – December 23, 2009.
This focused exhibition will feature nine canvases and five works on paper that highlight the transformation that took place in Brooks’ work between 1968 and 1979. Brooks’ large dynamic paintings from the 1970s were often begun on the floor, where he would pour films of very loose paint to create layers of transparent color in the under-painting of each canvas. He would then re-engage the picture plane and build up the surface with distinct mark making. In “Leen” (1974) and “Nalon” (1968), Brooks employs angular lines to dissect and anchor the canvas with flat geometric forms. Whereas in “Khrog” (1974) and “Yarboro” (1972), Brooks’ sweeping calligraphic gestures activate the pictorial space by concurrently defining and obscuring existing sinuous forms within the composition. The works on paper from this decade exude a more immediate and lyrical experience heightened by his highly contrasted palette, which is often limited to black and white. Brooks’ acute exploration of the use of the line to create a vigorous tension in the picture plane whether by constructing highly angular compositions or layers of nebulous forms sinking and rising within the pictorial space all punctuated with his impulsive and expressive brushstrokes clearly define Brooks' work from this time period.