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about brooke lanier


Brooke Lanier is a Philadelphia-based painter most known for her depictions of water and boats. She grew up in Minnesota and spent extended periods of time observing patterns of waveforms, light, and colors in water. This experience continues to inform her paintings.  


Lanier earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from Tyler School of Art, where she spent her first year studying in Rome, Italy. She also holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited her work in Prague, Rome, New York, and across the U.S. In 2007, she received 2nd award in Volkswagen’s “Driven” competition for young artists with disabilities; the prize- winning work was inspired by her retinal detachment. She received a grant and had her work displayed in the Smithsonian Institute and the John F. Kennedy Center before going on a two-year national tour. 

During her time in Philadelphia, Lanier became fascinated by the historic ships on the Delaware River within walking distance of her studio. Initially compelled by their commanding forms and fascinating textures, her curiosity led her to seek more information about the history of the ships through conversations with their conservators.  As a member of the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild, she volunteers to help restore the 1901 Portuguese tall ship Gazela, the inspiration for over twenty of her paintings. Lanier was named the ship’s Artist in Residence in 2022.  To learn more about her involvement in the restoration process, visit her blog. 

Lanier is the owner of Brooke Lanier Fine Art in Philadelphia, where she teaches private drawing and painting lessons out of her studio.  If you are curious why she wears an eyepatch and uses a white cane, here is an FAQ.


2011 MFA in Painting, Tyler School of Art,Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and Rome, Italy

2006 BFA in Painting, Minor in Art History, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Awards & Nominations:

2007 Volkswagen/ VSAarts: Driven Competition, Second Place

2012 Artist in Residence, Goldilocks Gallery, Philadelphia. PA

2013 Featured artist, Philadelphia Open Studios Tours “MADE IN PHILLY” billboard

2022 Artist in Residence, Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild, Barkentine Gazela

Solo Exhibitions:

2023  Berths and Ghosts, Novado Gallery, Jersey City, NJ

2020 Unreliable Reflections, Pennswood Art Gallery, Newtown, PA

2018 Familiar Forms, Stockton University’s Noyes Museum Seaview Gallery, Galloway, NJ

2017 Theoretical and Concrete, The Bazemore Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2016 Surface Tension, The Cosmopolitan Club of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

2012 YOU ARE HERE: New Works by Brooke Lanier, Goldilocks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2011 Solitude and Solidarity, Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA

2010 ConText, Temple Contemporary Gallery, Rome, Italy

Select Group Exhibitions:

2021 Hope and Possibility, Bridgette Mayer Gallery at Spring Garden Arts, Philadelphia, PA

2021 Light, Da Vinci Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA


2020 CFEVA Members Show, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA

2019 Perennial Visions II, Da Vinci Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA

2018 Into the Light, curated by Bridgette Mayer, Arts and Crafts Holdings, Philadelphia, PA

2018 Everything Is There: Helen Halstuch, Brooke Lanier, and Kimberly Stemler, River’s Edge Gallery, Upper Black Eddy, PA

2018 The Philadelphia Chambers of Commerce, curated by Genevieve Coutroubis of The Center For Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA

2017 Painted-Paint-Painting, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA  


2016 Near and Far, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2016 Focus Forward, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C.  


2015 24th Annual Juried Competition, Stephen Westfall juror, The Bowery Gallery, Chelsea, NYC


2014 Friends and Neighbors, AIRspace Gallery, Philadelphia, PA  


2013 Home, Goggleworks Gallery, Reading, PA

2012 Small Works Show, Sarah Mintz Juror, Gallery 440, Brooklyn, NY

2011 Hand-Lettered, Abecedarian Gallery, Denver, CO

2010 Art for Kikko: Serious and Significant Works, La_Linea Gallery, Rome, Italy

2010 Love at First Sight, Mondelliani, Rome, Italy

2008 Volkswagen/VSAarts: DRIVEN Competition for Young Artists With Disabilities, The Smithsonian Institute’s S. Dillon Ripley Center and

The John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. (Subsequent two-year national tour.)

Corporate Collections

Aramark Global Headquarters, Philadelphia, PA

Emory Decatur Hospital Women’s Center, Decatur, GA

Honeywell Corporate Offices, New York, NY

Volver Restaurant, Garces Corporation, Philadelphia, PA

Panorama Wine Bar, Philadelphia, PA

Lehigh Valley Hospital, Bethlehem, PA

Kellogg Middle School, mural, Rochester, MN

Artist's Statement:

Objects and places carry evidence of their histories in their physical appearances. Places where the natural and built environs come together are always interesting.  I find this especially true around the waters’ edges of oceans, lakes, and rivers.  Sometimes in harbors there are crisp visual edges at the interfaces of natural and man-made elements, but the longer the piers, boats, and docks have been in the water, the more the boundaries blend. If you look more closely you can see the shift in color where the submerged objects continue below the surface, and the color of the water interferes more and more with the color of the objects until the objects are concealed.


When I take in a sight that overwhelms me with wonder, I am usually struck first by the colors, the textures, the sense of light, and how shapes frame each other.  In large bodies of water, the biggest, most colorful shapes with flat or contiguous surfaces are usually manmade.  They are like real-life collages, particularly the enormous cargo ships and barges, which seem like walls of color cruising through the landscape. When a huge ship passes by, an expanse of riverbank, previously clad in the drab grays and beiges of shorelines and light industry, is suddenly obscured for several minutes by a swath of vibrant color.


When piers have existed for years, they become colonized by marine life.  They become a home for algaes, mosses, and other plants, along with barnacles and oysters.  Ships' hulls can become complexly discolored and carbuncular. They hint at histories of carrying heavy burdens that altered their buoyancy, and contain evidence of collisions, corrosion, injuries, and repairs.  When basing my paintings on the interactions of water and ship hulls, I think about the way the ships were built and constructed.  In depicting rusted ships, I oftentimes use an underpainting containing iron oxide pigments, and I build up layers of texture before scratching through and revealing the rust. I consider the way that irregularities in metal impact the settling of sediment or formation of patina in the path of trickling water, and I translate this into layers of paint.


To seek inspiration for my paintings, I often walk by the Delaware River near my studio in Philadelphia and observe the interface of water and geometric elements.  When I see something that commands my attention, I am compelled to try to fix it in memory via careful observation, plein air painting, and photographs so that I may carry it with me.  I hone these reflections in my studio through making series of paintings exploring numerous visual aspects of the subject, from representation to abstraction.  I want to share my favorite things with other people, so that they may share in my delight. 

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