Recent Drawings, an
exhibition of intriguing abstract expressions, by Moe Brooker that
suggest his mindset with approach to drawing, will open at the June
Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, on March 26. The exhibition
will remain on view through May 4.
Coming from a musical
family, Brooker cites love of jazz and poetry as being inspiring
experiences that impact and guide him as he draws. He sees
drawing as a journey and jazz is often a metaphor for him when upon
that journey, investigating, plotting pictorial space, discovering
new issues, new sensitivities.
As Brooker has named works
for jazz greats John Coltrane and Charlie “Bird” Parker; he also
acknowledges as a critical influence, the Russian abstract painter
Wassily Kandinsky, who, cited music as being elemental throughout
his life and studies. “Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the
hammer, the soul is the piano with the strings. The artist is
the hand that plays, touching one key after another to cause
vibrations in the soul,” wrote Kandinsky.
Brooker sees the journey
of drawing as similar to that of the jazz musicians’ searching that
begets discovery, even risks, yet opening into new vistas. Both
musician and artist seek an inner space, something cosmic and
eternal as realized in jazz. Brooker’s work is not completely
conceived and formed by the mind before execution, nor from the
senses and sentiment. Excluded is lyricism, dramatism, symbolism.
On the journey of drawing, he says, there is the potential for what
may happen. His work is full of visual energy. Never is
there the impression of precise control. His vibrant drawings
suggest the wonderment he feels in the making of marks and effusive
splashes of brilliant color in overlapping ambiguous shapes as in
the mixed media drawing on paper titled, Present Tense, 2021.
Each of Brooker’s drawings
seem to have a life of its own that comes through in the sense of
rhythm, brilliant color, and random markings, like the rough and
playful improvisations of jazz. The feel of the music, free
and loose are like the splashes of brilliant color aligned with
passionate hints of lines scrawled randomly across the canvas.
Interestingly, Brooker’s drawings gain their strength from lack of
formal tautness. There is an openness and a spontaneity in
feeling more in tune with intention to produce unconscious
expressions of events from one’s inner nature that occur suddenly.
“The making of marks is an
avowal of purpose…a continuing source of special wonderment for me.
There’s no better way to express joy than in the journey of the
Brooker lives and works in
Philadelphia. He holds BFA and MFA degrees from Tyler School
of Fine Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. His work is
represented in numerous public and private collections, including
the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts in Philadelphia, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Studio Museum
in Harlem, Hampton University Museum, The Gund Foundation,
Progressive Insurance Company in Cleveland, University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, and The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts,
Brooker has won two highly
competitive commissions, one in February 2014 from the Metropolitan
Transit Authority to design windows for the North Façade of the
elevator tower of the Long Island Railroad building in Wyandanch,
New York. Brooker’s design consists of 12 vertical windows,
each 10 feet tall and 7 feet wide, and each with a colorful,
abstract pattern that he created and that was fabricated in float
glass at the Mayer of Munich Studio in Germany. The
installation was completed in May 2015; the second commission, mixed
media on canvas, 16 feet high x 8 feet wide, Pennsylvania Convention
Center, Philadelphia with installation scheduled for April 2021.