Sound of Many Waters

“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire...his voice as the sound of many waters...and when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last...”
– Revelation 1:14-17

This is a description of Jesus in glory; resurrected, victorious, clothed in power and sitting on His throne. John the Apostle hears His voice as if it were a great storm. As in other Bible passages, God’s voice is likened here to overawing weather. Sometimes it is a blinding light or an earthquake; sometimes thunder like a trumpet blast.

Brooke Rogers grew up the son of a preacher in Ocean City, a barrier island off the coast of Maryland. They lived and worshipped in the middle of an often raucous party town. The contrast was formative. The hurricane struck home with Brooke because of both its religious symbolism and its regional associations. In this part of the world, storm season is a fact of life.

Hurricane imagery first appeared in Brooke’s work as early as 2008, in a series of scratch board drawings. The hurricane has been at the heart of his work ever since, in one form or another. In his latest paintings, the spinning storm has been simplified into geometric patterns, largely derived from Amish quilts. But they also suggest other traditions, including Renaissance marquetry, Cosmati tile work, and Islamic patterns.
Pinwheels set the Modernist grid in motion. Brooke’s patterned paintings and drawings relate to the fashion and home décor of the 70’s and 80’s that trickled down from Minimalism and Op Art. The most immediate point of departure for Brooke’s new work was the distillation of late Modernism in the popular design of his childhood.

Brooke studied with Abstract Expressionist, Grace Hartigan, known for her masterful blend of painting and drawing. She was friendly with a number of important Pattern & Decoration painters, another big influence on the paintings on view here. Art history, personal history and a very personal faith imbue them.