University of Northern Iowa, 1978, MA
The University of Iowa, 1980, MFA
Carol Brookes’ artwork has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and cultural centers throughout the United States, including the Viridian Gallery in New York City, the McLarry Modern Gallery in Santa Fe, Illinois Central College in East Peoria, the Maryland Federation of Art in Annapolis, B. J. Spoke Gallery in Huntington, New York, the University of North Iowa in Cedar Falls, the Women’s Center in Los Angeles, and the Miami Metropolitan Museum and Art Center. In addition, her mixed-media constructions are in public and corporate collections, including those of the American Cinema Corporation in Boston, Grayco Paper Company in Miami, the Miami Dade Community College, and the Waterloo Art Center in Iowa. Brookes received a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Miami, an MA in painting from the University of Northern Iowa, and an MFA in multimedia art from the University of Iowa.
I see the world as layers of structure and surface, one upon the other. These concepts drive my work and have resulted in what I call, PULSE, a series of frame-like boxes constructed of wood and canvas and filled with culptural structures and mixed media materials. They are in essence wall sculptures and the box-like structures create strong architectural elements in the work.
PULSE focuses on spherical forms, primarily, the hemisphere. This series evolved from an earlier group of works, the CONSTRUCT SERIES, which were comprised of layers of mixed media materials and surfaces
and combinations of everyday objects, such as cut nails, hooks, tacks, mesh or metallic sheets combined with more organic papers and materials. Theses materials are tied, glued, screwed, zipped, strung or nailed together, unifying them in a way that causes both tension and harmony. The new works in PULSE conform to many of the structural elements of the earlier work. incorporating mixed media materials, but with a new emphasis not only on spherical forms, on grids, repetition and a more three dimensional energy.
The “Pulse” series was inspired by a recent trip to Hawaii with her archeologist husband, of which she recalls, “I was awed by the raw, untamable power emanating from the earth. It was both powerful and serene, a spiritual energy, The spherical cinder mounds and volcanic forms gave a sense that the earth was pulsing and pushing to form new life.”
"PULSE" examines the hemisphere as a structure, the ordinary forms we see each day in their many incarnations, such as an egg, a pod, an eye, the earth, planets, and domes. The various concepts that these forms evoke are explored in the series, including thoughts and insights into life, birth, and the mystical and mysterious.
All of the works in “PULSE” involve repetition, a visually stabilizing force. In addition to the multiple hemispheres, I have also created repetition of forms in groups of structures that are the same size. These pieces are presented in sets of two, three or larger sets forming rows or grids. The groupings establish relationships between the forms and surfaces – one to the other – and set up visual identities, similarities and differences that can be compared and contrasted.
My work is material driven and constantly evolving. I consider the world my art supply store. With each new idea comes a new learning process. I am constantly learning “how to make my art”; how do I use the new materials or tools that I have discovered to express a particular concept, how do I combine certain materials, how can I attach or assemble these new materials. I find this aspect of my work extremely challenging and exciting.
My work is spontaneous and controlled, playful and serious, my own personal yin and yang. Creating these constructed worlds is a mystical event for me. Although the ideas flow from one piece to the other, there are always surprises. Art is the magic of my life and like magic the excitement comes from not knowing what wonderful, new idea, object or material will appear and exactly what will happen next.