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"Unreliable Reflections: New Works by Brooke Lanier" at Pennswood Art Gallery

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Newtown, PA

Sept 13 through Nov 8, 2020

Noted for her original interpretations in oil of land- and waterscapes, Lanier explores and re-explores the fine details of her subject, sometimes refining the images to startling simple abstractions. With others she increases the complexity of the image by assembling painted elements in collage achieving satisfying balance and beauty.

To learn more about Lanier’s artistic process and the techniques and concepts behind her work, view her illustrated Artist’s Talk via YouTube.

Artist's Statement:

For me, art is a way of making sense of the world and sharing my favorite parts with other people. Art fosters empathy and human connection by allowing the viewer to borrow the creator’s perspective. Whatever someone spends a lot of time thinking about becomes important, and the act of making these highly detailed paintings is a testament to how much I care about my subjects.

In many of my paintings, docks and boardwalks invite us to come closer and look at, but not touch, the landscape. Architectural elements simultaneously unite and divide the scenes. I reduce constructed elements to flattened geometric planes, creating conspicuously empty areas surrounded by areas of careful pattern and detail. The absences underscore the importance of what remains and vice versa.

Through my compositions, I seek balance between elements that are active and tranquil, natural and artificial, moving and stable. By using collage sensibilities, I connect slices of my favorite places with a logic based on memory. I discover relationships of color, motion, and light from different sources, times, and locations in a way that creates an internal logic within an impossible scene. Finding these commonalities is like discovering a solution to a puzzle with endless possible solutions.

In translating the collages to paintings, I continue the editing process by deciding what to do with the empty spaces and whether to blend elements together or alternatively emphasize the divisions between separate components by using clean edges. Using tiny brushstrokes and luminous glazes or accentuating the physicality of thick layers of paint introduces contrasts among image elements that invite the viewer to make comparisons. Likewise, choosing uniformly colored planes or passages that reveal the history of their making changes the meaning and emphasis of each segment. Combining a variety of techniques compliments the differences in the passages they describe, creates visual interest, and pushes me to continue creating art that challenges my technical and intellectual skills. When I attempt to paint something I do not entirely understand, it makes me pay closer attention.

The level of detail present in my paintings reflects my compulsion to make sense of something that seems impossibly complex and chaotic. If one stares at something long enough, the hope is that it will begin to make sense. For me, this often happens during the process of creating the piece. I start to notice elements that line up in a certain way, and those things intersect with another line of logic such as a change in scale or a shift in color. Once I see the patterns, I understand that small section of the world in a particular moment in time. It is simultaneously comforting and exhilarating to arrive at this achievement.

Click here for information about each of the artworks in the show and to see all installation views.

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