Moe Brooker: Paintings

June 16 – July 20, 1990
June Kelly Gallery, New York

There is a joyful exuberance that pulses through the paintings of Moe Brooker. Colors flash grins, and lines break into a two-step in his distinctive urban visions. An artist nourished by his life in the city, Brooker is like the visually hungry protagonist in a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, who “feeds on food the fat of heart despise.” The occasional silvered fields and collage-like format of his current work was initially inspired by his sight, after a long absence from Philadelphia, of the city’s abandoned brownstones. The windows of these rowhouses were sealed with tin, their facades papered with peeling handbills and pockmarked with graffiti.

Brooker begins his thinking process with small-scale drawings and collages. Although aspects of these warming-up exercises occasionally make their way into the larger canvases, the artist primarily relies on an instinctive process for his paintings. To Brooker, “spontaneity is an impulse, it’s about making choices and making decisions.” As a piano player, Brooker enjoys comparing his artistic discovery process with striking a chord — though one may be familiar with individual notes, when they’re heard as a chord, there’s always a surprise.

There is a playful, figurative cast to the artist’s favored shapes, which can read “head,” “torso,” or “leg” one minute or present themselves as abstract color containers the next. To Brooker, line is also a shape. A savvy ringmaster who uses his body language as a whip, Brooker exhorts his linear elements to coil, spike, bounce and sashay across the canvas. A kinetic energy radiates from his calligraphic loops as they prance through subtle color changes or are rhythmically marked by perpendicular streaks. Showers of bright confetti, sassy stars, and an occasional heart push the more formal compositions towards a mood of jubilation.

Brooker switched from pastels to oils a decade ago, and he has astutely extracted a wide range of effects from this traditional medium. In search of luminous tonalities, Brooker devised a method of layering color over color, so that a given patch of orange, for example, may have been over-painted five times, with different hues for some of the undercoats. A special characteristic of Brooker’s canvases is his use of black as a field, a practice he took with him from working with pastels. He may have three different blacks in a work, manipulating their visual temperature by deft underpainting.

A child of the city, Brooker’s first drawings were made with chalk on asphalt. In his current work he retains their ghostly accent and gestural signature by using white oil stick. To have traveled from the impermanence of the street to the posterity of museums is a marvelous journey, and Brooker, delighting in his humanity, signs his works as Bach did — “TTGG,” to the glory of God.

Gerry Tuten

Gerry Tuten’s paintings are deep encounters with the natural world. She paints woods, water, and sky with a physical vigor…

Gerry Tuten’s paintings are deep encounters with the natural world. She paints woods, water, and sky with a physical vigor that reflects her spirited engagement with the environment and her urgent pursuit…

Gerry Tuten’s paintings are deep encounters with the natural world. She paints woods, water, and sky with a physical vigor that reflects her spirited engagement with the environment and her urgent pursuit of personal expression.…

Nanci Hersh

Gestural lines, fragmented patterns and assorted textures are the threads of my work which create a space for the confluence…

Gestural lines, fragmented patterns and assorted textures are the threads of my work which create a space for the confluence of memory, time and place. The overarching theme of my work is a narrative…

Gestural lines, fragmented patterns and assorted textures are the threads of my work which create a space for the confluence of memory, time and place. The overarching theme of my work is a narrative drawn from personal…

Marilyn Holsing

Marilyn Holsing was born and raised in northeastern Ohio and received her BFA in painting, drawing and graphics from the…

Marilyn Holsing was born and raised in northeastern Ohio and received her BFA in painting, drawing and graphics from the Ohio State University.…

Marilyn Holsing was born and raised in northeastern Ohio and received her BFA in painting, drawing and graphics from the Ohio State University.…

Joe Sasarak

My work can be traced back to my own personal history and experiences, yet rather than being personal symbols, it is a product…

My work can be traced back to my own personal history and experiences, yet rather than being personal symbols, it is a product of a collective memory that I share with the viewer. …

My work can be traced back to my own personal history and experiences, yet rather than being personal symbols, it is a product of a collective memory that I share with the viewer. …

Francesca Costanzo

Francesca Costanzo is a multi media artist in Philadelphia who uses her art as a form of journalism in order to change public…

Francesca Costanzo is a multi media artist in Philadelphia who uses her art as a form of journalism in order to change public opinion.…

Francesca Costanzo is a multi media artist in Philadelphia who uses her art as a form of journalism in order to change public opinion.…

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider