Awaiting the Crowd | 36” x 38” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Arcobaleno Nights | 38” x 74” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
BROOKE HARKER: PAINTING PLACES A city is an accumulation of details. Urban spaces are the sum of their parts; those parts build a city the way walls and floors and rooms and halls build a building. Brooke Harker’s approach to the image of a city – of any environment, actually, but a city’s most particularly – insists that our experience of a place emerges from a wealth of phenomena, smaller and larger, interacting and giving one another a reason to exist. Harker’s method, reliant equally on drawing and painting throughout even the most painterly tableau, does not simply thrust us into the middle of a bustling street; it dissolves the street and reassembles it around our vision, as if we had been dreaming, been jolted awake, and found ourselves beholding a scene at once instantly recognizable and entirely alien. The image provides us dynamic information, information that seizes our attention and will not let it go. But that image does not cohere immediately. Recognizing the genre of the picture – commercial boulevard, beach, shopping avenue, domestic district – is one step, but naming the place is another. Brooke Harker lives in Los Angeles, and her exhibition displays the vastness and variety of the city she inhabits. But she has spent the summer in and around Frosinone and has spiced her show with several views of a countryside, and a culture, that she has embraced as a second home. In fact, the climate, vegetation, and even topography of Harker’s two subjects are not dissimilar. But, again, a city – even a town or a terrain – is built of details, and in the myriad details that Harker notes so keenly, Los Angeles and Frosinone do not mirror so much as complement each other. Viva la differenza. Peter Frank Art Critic
The Verge of Venice | 25” x 34” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Driving Fire | 59” x 66” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Breath of Malibu | 35” x 64” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
The vast spaces of California “re-seen” on location: this is the constant feature of Brooke Harker's artworks. For the special occasion of her Frosinone exhibition, she decided to create most of the work during her stay in Italy, mostly working from memory, mostly superimposing dreams upon reality, mostly reconstructing her spiritual homeland from afar. In effect, to her precision of detail, which bears traces of photography and even posits a hyper-realistic background, Brooke Harker adds a density of color and a radiant intensity of light that delineate an 'elsewhere' and extend landscapes and roads towards indefinite horizons, even though they are recognizable and often named, thus pushing them beyond all known geography. In like manner, her human figures lose definition, taking on an atmospheric quality, and participate by existing only within the surrounding environment. Colors and lights stand out, some in their full-bodied material consistency, others in their deep, penetrating brilliance. All together, they have the force of openness and representation that springs from a thoroughly pictorial gesture, free from philosophy and the norms of technical reproducibility.
Not by chance, this gesture seems to inherit a tradition that has had particular prominence in North American art, in order to then lend the splendors and emotional urgencies of action painting and abstract expressionism to the construction of a new form, and therefore, to a clear expository simplicity. A need to share, a life lived in a dimension that such a need unifies, desired experiences of collective participation, promises and notices of social encounters with merry signs of joy scattered among the colorful, populous beaches and the streets sparkling with bright nocturnal phantasmagoria: all these constitute the dominant meanings, offered to the viewer with sunny generosity. On the map of her canvases, Brooke Harker pictures the land she imagines with her portrayal of hope; it is the city of the sun we yearn for. Marcello Carlino Art Critic
AN AMERICAN IN ROME Arrived here a while back with her colors, her easel and her canvases. And she fell in love with Rome - with its monuments, its brick red buildings, the narrow streets in its historical center, Piazza Navona and the Coliseum, Saint Peter's and Piazza Venezia. Brooke Harker, an American in Rome, was subsequently captivated by Frosinone and by the many other art cities of the Ciociaria region. For several months, she stayed in Paliano to paint some fourteen large paintings depicting the city of cinema, Los Angeles, where she lives - to illustrate, with her meticulous, descriptive art, the continuous movement of a metropolis that never stops and the incessant flow of its tumultuous traffic, where Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu, The Arts District, China Town, Koreatown, Culver City, Little Bangladesh, Thai Town, Little Tokyo, Laguna Beach, Santa Barbara, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Mexico all coexist - in short, where you can find the whole world. A city where you can see oil wells dug between buildings, with fracking underway. And where one of its most prestigious places, the Getty Museum, houses priceless works of art from every epoch. Brooke Harker is an esteemed Los Angeles artist who has to her credit a number of exhibitions throughout the world. These include one in the Palazzo of the Province of Frosinone last October, where 54 American artist guests were invited for “California Dreaming”, the exhibition organized by the Oceanside Museum near San Diego together with the Rassegna di Arte Visiva Contemporanea.
Now Brooke Harker has come to Italy to paint pictures in which she succeeds in highlighting the features of her city, works that she will exhibit in the Villa Comunale of Frosinone from 24 August until 6 September. “Una prospettive eclettica/An eclectic perspective” is the title of her show, which will be succeeded by that of Chinese artist Mei Xian Qui (September 4-20), which is entitled “Let a thousand flowers bloom”. It's a way to internationalize the Frosinone shows, hosting artists of different cultures and techniques to facilitate exchange with local artists. And it has led to Ciociaro artist Fausto Roma having a major solo show in one of the most renowned galleries in Los Angeles, and to twenty artists from our province being invited for a July, 2016 show there. Brooke Harker was immediately captivated by Frosinone, painting various corners of the 'city of the tower', sketching and doing watercolors of its vistas, which are then to be illustrated on large canvases in mixed media, mainly Japanese ink, acrylic, and oil applied with a palette knife. Alfio Borghese Curator of the exhibition
Rhythm of the Sea | 20” x 53” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Cirque di Santa Monica | 35” x 63” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Flicker of Downtown | 34” x 54” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Wicked Night | 36” x 39” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Memoirs of the Shore | 25” x 74” | ink & acrylic on canvas
To me painting is essentially storytelling; It is another form of theatre in creating illusions with line, color and texture. As I come from a background of theatre and it was an interest in acting that originally drew me to Los Angeles, there is an element in this exhibit of me wanting to share different perspectives of a place significant to my development as a person and artist. LA is a city of much beauty and much ugliness. It is a place where people dream big and create in magnificent ways and city of misfortune and lost goals. It is nicknamed “The City of Angels,” and I agree with this label as I have been guided by many angels during my time there, including being guided all the way to Italy for this exhibit! What is significant about this collection of works is that they were all created on a farm near Paliano, Italy. I think the story in any painting is not only in the image it represents but in the life required to convey its energy. Each painting contains both history from Los Angeles and the many lessons I have learned while getting to know the heart of Italy, while being immersed in the culture. In sharing various perspectives of well known areas of Los Angeles, I only begin to address the rich diversity of the city. In one day, a person can visit about every culture in the world,
all within driving distance of one another...that is if traffic is moving. I think it is important no matter where we live to look for beauty in what may not seem beautiful by traditional standards. Traffic to most people is not beautiful… I certainly didn't use to think of traffic as beautiful...so I got curious about how I could find an appreciation for what I chose to live in. Immediately the glow of various shapes of tail lights at night captivated me. Then I started thinking about the lives of each person in every passing car and the puzzle of how every scene fit together memorized me. It is this shifting of perspective that is part of the inspiration for my work. Any time a person chooses to look for a new perspective, it affects everyone around them. So we are each quite powerful in the choices we make. In creating these paintings in Italy, I have continued to gain new perspectives that I couldn't have imaged otherwise. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share my work with the people of Frosinone and to Alfio Borghese for inviting me here and making this exhibit possible.
I would also like to thank my many sponsors and supporters for this exhibit including: the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District, Lu Martin Galleries in Laguna Beach, CA, companies such as Gamblin Artist Colors, Modern Masters, Jerry's Artarama, and Jack Richeson & Co., Inc. who generously donated supplies and materials. Nearly 200 people in 8 countries contributed funds through Indiegogo or privately so that I could create this body of work while experiencing the culture of Italy. From my heart to yours, thank you. Also a special thanks for the generosity of Erika & Steve Williams in Rome and Beauty Marks Henna in LA. Thank you to Peter Frank and Marcello Carlino for documenting your perspectives in words and to Silvana Tei Kenney, Paolo Carlini, Silvia Zambon, and Federico Borghese for help with Italian translation. Grazie: Jonathan Jerald, Tim Keating, Greg & Lu Martin, Julienne Johnson, Keith Edwards, Kathy Leonardo, Doris Bettencourt, Judy Santos, Jennifer Verge, Patricia Bolter, Mairead, Sai-ling, Barbara Deutsch, Malte & Anneliese Humpert, Heidi Dahmen, Karin & Karl-Heinz Humpert, Jeanne Sakata, Ria Zepeda, Christi Hall, Matt Yochum, Sue & Michael Bierman, Jeff Newell, Rosy Arnello, Rita Shertick, Christian TerBush, Candida Rivera, Siaka Massaquoi, Tara Kozoll, Therese
Rickard, Kevin Lynn, Samantha Carnell, Mary Russell, Connie Hall, Brenda Arthur, Clare, Matt, & Dahlia Bush, Bradley Hankey, Ben Godar, June & Jon Burns, Team Kinnear, Kelly Medford, Clarity Institute, Darci Kellen, Mado Biddle, Lynn Lloyd and Loriano Marcantoni (Telarte, Rome). Thank you to my amazing family (Nanci McCune & Jerry, Harkers- John, Becky, Grandma Betty, Vicki, Katie, Matt & Shannon Maddy) and friends for endless support and encouragement. Thank you to the Oceanside Museum and Kay Colvin for creating "California Dreamin: An International Portrait of Southern California" in collaboration with Alfio Borghese which hosted works of 54 American artists in Palazzo della Provincia di Frosinone, as it was participation in that exhibition which led to this opportunity. A million more thanks to Alfio Borghese for hosting me, Elena Sevi and Gina Apati for taking care of me and to Villa Comunale di Frosinone and all connected organizations responsible for this exhibit. I am truly honored by the kindness of so many people. Brooke Harker
Rodeo in Spring | 34” x 51” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Brooke Harker is a contemporary American artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her lively paintings of cityscapes are characterized by energetic strokes layered in ink, acrylic and thick oil on canvas to depict playful expressions of urban and coastal scenes. The imaginative twist of reality in her paintings allows minds to wander, get curious and dream of possibilities. Harker’s solo exhibition at Villa di Comunale in Frosinone, Italy in the vicinity of Rome titled Una Prospettiva Eclettica (An Eclectic Perspective) which takes place from August 24-Sept 18 2015 after a residency in Italy for several a few months to create the paintings. This opportunity developed from being part of the touring international exhibit California Dreaming: An International Portrait of Southern California, which opened at Palazzo della Provincia di
Frosinone, in Frosinone, Italy near Rome in October 2014 under the direction of Alfio Borghese. Curated by LA art critic Peter Frank and museum directors Drew Oberjuerge and Daniel Foster, the exhibit made it’s US debut at the Oceanside Museum of Art in Oceanside, CA in December 2014 for 4 months and will open at the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA in April of 2015. Harker’s newest coastal works can be seen at Lu Martin Galleries in Laguna Beach, CA in her exhibit “Energies of the California Coast.” Selected recent exhibits: FABStudio Art Gallery in Santa Monica, CA, The Wolf Fine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, Malibleu Gallery in Malibu, CA, bg Bergamot Gallery in Santa Monica, CA; DDR Gallery in Santa Monica, CA; Jeanie Madsen Gallery Santa Monica, CA; and haleARTS SPACE in Santa Monica, CA , Christopher Morgan Galleries, Laguna
Beach, CA, Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art, Laguna Beach, CA , Gallery 104 in San Clemente, CA, George J Doizaki Gallery in LA, The Beverly Hills Art Show, Beverly Hills, CA , the Open Show at Gallery 825 in Los Angles curated by Jenny Gheith (Assistant Curator, San Francisco Museum of Art), and part of the charity auction Artists for the Kids of Syria with artforumae at the Fann-A-Porter Gallery in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In 2013, the Field Deputy of California State Senator Alex Padilla nominated Harker for Excellence in the Arts. Her paintings have also been featured on Season 8 of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX , The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Times, The Malibu Times and sited in More Magazine & Felix Magazine.
Knitting the Shore | 22” x 49” | ink, acrylic & oil on canvas
Frosinone Beat | 38” x 44” | ink & acrylic on canvas