For me, abstract painting goes with experiential religion. I see Providence underlying life, and abstract form–of the measured, coolheaded variety–is a meaningful equivalent. Unified theories based on patterns in nature are not paeans to science, but independent verification of the sacred order. I share with the early abstractionists an interest in universal imagery to impart spiritual truths. When my forms are simplified to the point of near emptiness, it is only to clear out a space for revelation. John Cage’s silence was another instantiation of the nothing that was the object of perfection for many 20th century artists, but I go for the Prophet Elijah’s silence, where the still small voice of God can be heard.
I grew up in an East Coast beach town–a surfer and a preacher’s kid. I was born in the late 60’s, and I trace my painting roots to two important strains at the end of late Modernism: surfing-inflected Pop Art, and Minimalism of an organic sort, like the open horizon where sea meets sky and all detail shrinks to nothing. The layered patterns in my paintings reference Amish quilts, Renaissance marquetry, Islamic art, etc., but the rich surfaces–alternately scratchy and fluid–are grounded in the real world of the here and now.
Brooke Rogers is a painter from Ocean City, MD. He went to college in suburban Chicago, and then studied with Grace Hartigan at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore, but he ended up back at the beach where he started. Surfing was his first love. Growing up, his most powerful emotional moments happened in the ocean.
Brooke's early experience of nature was framed by material culture. A surfboard, after all, is an abstract sculpture. Wetsuits and surf apparel in the New Wave1980’s were covered with colorful patterns. He virtually grew up in a surf shop. On the other hand, his father was a Baptist preacher. Church gave him a sense of the sacred in everything and everyone around him.
Brooke is an abstract painter in the classic sense. He filters nature (i.e everything he sees around him), through his individual sensibility, his feeling intellect. He responds, in particular, to the economy of natural forms. Brooke sees his work as a balance between drawing and color. Drawing is an act of imagination. Drawing includes designing and constructing forms. Color is something else. Color is of the hand more than the head. It involves the tussle between image and object, creating a body for the spirit of the form.