between the promise of an attainable understanding and the elusiveness of the answer. There is never any arrival; comprehension is just out of reach, tantalizingly beyond what is within grasp. These non-arrivals are, of course, what compels us to revisit works of art time and time again.
J O H N B R O O K S
A native of Frankfort, Kentucky, John Brooks studied Political Science and English literature at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. For the last fifteen years Brooks has made his home in Louisville, with several years away in London and Chicago. In mid-2017 he launched Quappi Projects, an art-and-artist-focused gallery exhibiting work reflecting the zeitgeist. Both a visual artist and a poet, he has exhibited widely in Europe as well as in Louisville galleries such as Swanson Contemporary, Kaviar Gallery, and The Green Building Gallery. His artwork is held in private collections in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, and India; his poetry is held in the libraries of the Goethe-Institut in Chicago and Literaturhaus München and has been published in Assaracus Journal; in 2013 his collection “There Are No Strangers in These Weeds” was shortlisted for Sarabande Books' Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. Brooks is a recent recipient of an Artist Professional Development Grant from Great Meadows Foundation. Brooks is currently exhibiting new paintings in Moremen Gallery’s “Fresh Paint,” a group show featuring new work and new artists. A solo exhibition at Moremen Gallery is slated for summer 2019.
For the last decade, my work has explored themes of identity, memory, death and place, and has been centered around questions of contemplation, the expression of emotion, the transformative power and the emotional resonance of particular experiences and what Max Beckmann described as “the deepest feeling about the mystery of being.” I consider myself foremost an oil painter, and it is in my painting where these fundamental themes are most rigorously probed, but my creative practice encompasses work in a variety of other media including collage, sculpture, poetry, and photography. While painting mostly happens only in long, designated sessions, I live with and work with poetry and photography on a daily basis. I consider them to be essential to my work as an artist.
These works were taken with my iPhone 8 Plus and represent the first time I have exhibited photography. Locations include Louisville, Miami, New York City, the Hamptons, Athens and other parts of Greece. Even as a writer, I think visually. I see in images; I look in frames. Before the proliferation of mobile phones and the vast improvements made in their camera lenses, I often carried around a Nikon 35mm camera, and later a Leica X1. In the last several years I have become inseparable from my iPhone - less so for internet access than for wanting to have the camera with me at all times. In case a bird comes; in case the light moves. It isn’t documentation of occurrences that I am compelled to capture, but rather what I feel, or see, or what I think I almost see. Permeated with an atmosphere of loss and longing, or what the Germans describe as sehnsucht, these images do not posture a sense of knowing, but rather disclose themselves as unknowing, even unknowable. Joy is present, too, and praise for the ephemeral delicateness of existence. In thinking about this joint exhibition with Letitia Quesenberry, she and I came to understand that what binds together these two bodies of work is the subtle tension between the promise of an attainable understanding and the elusiveness of the answer. There is never any arrival; comprehension is just out of reach, tantalizingly beyond what is within grasp. These non-arrivals are, of course, what compels us to revisit works of art time and time again.
L E T I T I A Q U E S E N B E R R Y