June Kelly Gallery


Moe Brooker

Moe Brooker - Present Tense , 2021 - Mixed media on paper - 30 x 22 inches

Present Tense , 2021
Mixed media on paper
30 x 22 inches

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 drawing.”

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, Philadelphia.

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.


Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Kinda Sorta - 2021

Quicker than a Hurry II - 2020

Dancing in the Light - 2020

  Moe Brooker Bio

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166 MERCER STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10012/212-226-1660
(Between Houston and Prince Streets)
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