For Brooke Rogers, abstract form goes with experiential religion. As a Christian believer, he sees 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. Life isn’t absurd at root. Modernism etc. got it wrong, but you go to work with the culture you have, not with the culture you would have. He shares with the early abstractionists an interest in universal imagery to impart spiritual truths. When his 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. Rogers, on the other hand, goes for the Prophet Elijah’s silence, in which the still small voice of God can be heard.

Brooke grew up in an East Coast beach town–a surfer and a preacher’s kid. Born in the late 60’s, he traces his 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. His layered patterns 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.