“The brain and its product, the mind, are a fascinating subject; I question existence, both philosophically and scientifically, and because of my background, a good place to start my interrogation of life is through the material science of the brain.”
– Kelsey Brookes –
KELSEY BROOKES’ art knows no bounds. His work as a painter – experimenting with pop, abstract and traditional elements, has spliced color and construct with a scientific understanding of modern biochemistry to create a new genre of painting that explores an alluring, meditative abstraction.
Brookes masterfully melds a deep knowledge of cognitive science and art to create bright, intensely detailed paintings that abstract drug compounds, molecules, atoms and hallucinogenic states to heighten a viewer’s sensory perceptions and reactions. His two main bodies of work — molecules and aesthetic abstractions — are created with a rigorous process of attentiveness. A process of focusing awareness on the paint that is lost from the brush as it is applied to the surface of the canvas, then refocusing attention as the mind wanders away; which provides visual evidence of both an artistic process and meditation in practice. Brookes’ molecular paintings begin as two-dimensional maps of the precise locations of individual atoms, molecular line drawings, which then expand and radiate out from these hyper detailed locations/focal points to cover the entire canvas surface. The result, but never the end result, is a colorful abstract representation of the subject molecule. Often, Brookes’ aesthetic abstractions are meticulously painted surfaces that are organically constructed or stretched to provide an overt aesthetic connection to Eastern contemplative traditions, such as Buddhism.
Brookes has had solo exhibitions in La Jolla, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, London and Berlin. His work was featured as the cover art for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 2012 “I’m With You” 7” records and The Flaming Lips’ 2013 “Stone Roses” LP. Brookes has teamed up with RVCA and VANS among others for numerous projects. His paintings are featured in the publications SKULL STYLE: Skulls in Contemporary Art and Design, GO WEST!: Cutting-edge creative in the United States. KELSEY BROOKES: Psychedelic Space is the first monograph of the artist’s artwork and examines three years of work and four solo exhibitions. His work belongs in esteemed private collections, as well as the public permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation.
KELSEY BROOKES - CV
1978 Born Denver, CO
1996-2000 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Lives and works in San Diego, CA
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITION
2015 PSYCHEDELIC SPACE, Quint Gallery, La Jolla, CA
PLANTS OF THE GODS, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, NY
2014 SLEEP: THE SCIENCE AND THE MYSTERY, Library Street Collective, Detroit, MI
2013 BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, Judith Charles Gallery, New York, NY
RECREATIONAL DRUGS, Valmorbida, London, UK
2012 SEROTONIN: HAPPINESS AND SPIRITUAL STATES, Quint Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
MEDITATIONS ON SYMMETRY, Compound Projects, Malibu, CA
2011 DESIRES OF THE SOUL, The Outsiders, London, England
2010 KELSEY BROOKES – CAPED CREATURES, Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2009 BIGGER, BRIGHTER, BOLDER, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
2008 KELSEY BROOKES, New Image Art Gallery, West Hollywoodric , CA
2007 SUPER NUMERARY, Milieu Gallery, Bern, Switzerland
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2014 DAZED & CONFUSED, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, NY
STATE OF THE ART: DISCOVERING AMERICAN ART NOW, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK
2013 WORKS ON PAPER II, Quint Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
2011 REALITY BITES, Post No Bills, Venice Beach, CA
2010 HERE NOT THERE: SAN DIEGO ART NOW, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA
SURVEY SELECT, curated by Mark Murphy, Wonderbread Factory, San Diego, CA
COME AS YOU ARE, Prism, Los Angeles, CA
TOTAL ECLIPSE: KELSEY BROOKES, KIME BUZZELLI, AND ALBERT REYES, New Image Art, Los Angeles, CA
2009 QUINT: THREE DECADES OF CONTEMPORARY ART, California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum, Escondido, CA
RETROSPECTIVE, Laz Inc, London, England
HOMING IN: AN EXHIBTION OF 50 SAN DIEGO ARTISTS, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
RVCAX LODOWN, Lodown Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2008 SEE NO EVIL, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA
SMASH & GRAB, Laz Inc, London, England
OPEN DAY, Pictures On Walls, London, England
SCION PRESENTES INSTALLATION 4 - LOS ANGELES, Scion Installation LA Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
AJ FOSIK AND KELSEY BROOKES, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco, CA
FAIRFAX + HAIGHT, RVCA, San Francisco, CA
A BENEFIT SHOW, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, San Fransico, CA
SEMI-PERMANENT ART, Australia
POSTER RENAISSANCE, London, England
WELCOME HOME, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, San Fransico, CA
GOLD RUSH, Okay Mountain Gallery, Austin, TX
2007 OPENING GROUP SHOW, Lazarides Gallery, Newcastle, England
SANTA’S GHETTO, West Bank, Palestine
'REPLACE ‘PLEASE’ WITH FAST & ‘THANK YOU’ WITH GOD', Lab 101, Los Angeles, CA
OUT OF TOWNERS, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, San Fransico, CA
BRODEO, New Image Art, Santa Monica, CA
INSTALLATION SCION ART TOUR 4 - NYC, The Reed Space, New York, NY
10 CURATORS, Colette, Paris, France
THE RETURE OF SAINITY, Andenken Gallery
2006 SANTA’S GHETTO, Pictures On Walls, London, England
Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA
RATTLE THE CHANDELIER, Lab 101, Los Angeles, CA
Magpie, San Diego, CA
City Beat Art Show, San Diego, CA
KCDC + RVCA, Brooklyn, NY
THE 125TH AVNIVERSARY OF THE INTERNET, BLK/MARKT Gallery, Culver City, CA
TNT INSIDE-OUT, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA
LIVE ART INSTALLATION AND EXHIBITION, RVCA, Seattle, WA
STENCH, SEVENTEEN ARTISTS KICK UP A STINK, Lazarides, London, England
2005 SANTA’S GHETTO, Pictures On Walls, London, England
SELECTED ART FAIRS
2014 Miami Project, Quint Gallery
Untitled, Eric Firestone Gallery
Wynwood Walls, Miami, Library Street Collective
2013 Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Quint Contemporary Art
Miami Project, Quint Contemporary Art
2010 Art San Diego – Quint Contemporary Art
2008 Aqua Miami – New Image
2007 Aqua Miami – New Image
2015 “KELSEY BROOKES: PSYCHEDELIC SPACE,” Published and Distributed by Gingko Press in association with Quint Gallery and Library Street
Collective (Designed by Wendy Belt), 2015.
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Sherman, Pat. “Mesmerizing Mural: New public artwork on Ivanhoe Avenue is first under Athenaeum auspices in La Jolla,” La Jolla Light, August 20.
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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK
Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Chapman University, The Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art, Orange, CA