MOE BROOKER: Getting Back To Then
Moe Brooker makes his enthusiastic return to Cleveland FEBRUARY 21, 2014 –honored with the first solo exhibition given to his paintings here in 19 years.
“Cleveland remains a special place for me, and I enjoyed every moment that I spent there. The art community was really exciting when I was teaching and living there. I left 28 years ago for Philadelphia, can you believe it? Wow!”
Moe credits this exciting artistic climate he immersed himself into when he joined the staff of the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1976, with the beginning of his mature style, continuously evolving until today. Moe’s exposure to the electric city life of University Circle, Little Italy and East Cleveland in the mid 1970s was a psychic jolt following hard on the academic positions he held at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and following, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He became fascinated with the graffiti scrawled in colorful chalks on the transit underpasses, the jazz nightlife centered within blocks of CIA, and the press of contemporary abstraction from his colleagues. Within a short time, Brooker abandoned realism in favor of abstraction…and set down oil paint for the fluidity and pulsing effects achieved in pastels themselves.
Moe Brooker never looked back after that epiphany. His new, vibrant, Jazz-inflected abstractions burst out of him, and found immediate critical acclaim, commercial success, as well as a groundswell of admiration leading to his receipt of the coveted Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Art in 1985.
June Kelly, Brooker’s New York dealer recently summarized
Moe Brooker’s art this way:
Throughout Brooker’s vibrant paintings, the rough and playful rhythms and improvisations of jazz prevail. The perceptive viewer can feel the music, the riffs and spontaneity and beat of a solid five-piece jazz combo, free and loose and enjoying the product of their collaboration.”
“Splashes of brilliant color are tied together with thin ribbons of oil stick scribbled with apparent random abandon across the canvas. In some pieces, Brooker allows patterns to emerge in small splotches of reds or blues as brief accents in the overall composition. In other paintings, the patterned areas are larger and more integrated.