Kelsey Brookes is a San Diego artist who has beautified my common errands and end of yoga practices for some time: how can you resist his striking mural in La Jolla?
A monumental mandala of gorgeous colors soaring to my almost permanent blue sky, I always find comfort in its all-over unstoppable growth pattern. It spells “life” in concentric circles and ripples but the art of Kelsey Brookes is definitely not as happy hippie as you might think. A spectacular new show at Quint Gallery will be showing just that, starting this Saturday September 29, 2018.
With mandala-like patterns reminiscent of the world system symbolically represented in Hindu and Buddhist artistic practices, radial motifs simulate the invisible force we all depend upon: life.
Color patterns and symmetry make for a meditative experience; when made of sand, mandalas remind us all of our impermanence. Personally I am in awe of the time and patience such beauties require. No wonder mandalas are often associated with cosmic experiences and transcendence. And that is definitely something Kelsey Brookes channels with his art.
Yet with the concept of transcendence come two directions: will you seek to elevate yourself to an out of body experience and aerial view of the world through meditation?
Or would you rather go inward looking, seeking to see the microscopic and molecular worlds where life, but also destruction, shows its true colors?
For an ex-microbiologist like Kelsey Brookes, painting has become an opportunity to zoom-in on invisible life forces, both attractive and repulsive in equal measure.
If his earlier works were predominantly round canvas exploring the radiating patterns of molecules ebbing and flowing, this new show brings his horror vacui (fear of empty space) onto a new direction with three-dimensional supports being used.
Their undulating shapes were derived using the Fibonacci sequence and it gets even more clever, as this video demonstrates.
While the waves of his new found three-dimensionality are rooted in mathematics, Kelsey’s marbled patterns and all-over compositions cover wavelengths turned totems while wall pieces are based on the actual microscopic shapes of microbes and germs.
What should be the stuff of nightmares becomes mesmerizing beautiful and colorful.
Even glowing in blacklight, thanks to a little fluorescent paint.
And when set upon mirrors, these pieces are a world in themselves, encapsulating life and death in an infinity fight bouncing between reality and illusion.
Run to this show opening this Saturday. It is on until November 10th at Quint Gallery.
© 2018 Ingrid Westlake
All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.