On March 21st at the Cooper Building, in the fashion district downtown, the SAGE Project and the Do Art Foundation presented “Thread & Bone” by Los Angeles based artist Kimberly Brooks. "Brooks is an American painter who blends figuration and abstraction to focus on a variety of subjects dealing with memory, history and identity. Her work has been showcased in numerous juried exhibitions including curators from Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, California Institute of the Arts and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Brooks received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and studied painting at UCLA and OTIS. Born in New York, Brooks lives and works in Los Angeles”. The show examines “the intersection of structure and fashion within an architectural space… The installation transforms the grand entryway of the Cooper into a spectacle of accoutrement. A giant steel hanging pendant, flanked by floor-to-ceiling burlap draperies and industrial concrete columns, marry the rawness of the space with the material chosen. A video piece, and collaged panels integrating memento mori symbology with elements from vintage undergarments, communicate excerpts from Brooks’ portrait series “The Stylist Project”.
Using found images of women in hooped skirts, paintings of sewing mannequin draped in pieced together fabric, and a black & white video of hand sewing, allows the viewer into Brooke’s exploration between fashion and structure. Through further exploration one can see how the show takes a dominant female perspective as an understanding through careful study allows the artist to explore how the female body is caged through fashion, shaped by male history, and reinterpreted in the contemporary setting. Using vibrate warm fall tones, printed textured fabric, and small references to the female form the artist abstracts our idea of how fashion relates to the female form. “From the traces of the hand, to the fibers of the brush, skin and bone of the underpainting are gradually unveiled”.
The show is on view 7 days a week at the Gateway Gallery inside the Cooper Design Space, until April 30th.
Written and Images by Jaklin Romine