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James D. Brooks
acrylic on canvas
Framed: 64 × 76 inches (162.6 × 193 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of the James Brooks and Charlotte Park Brooks Foundation.
Accession Number
At the start of his career, James Brooks painted representational images and was known as a social realist. Then, inspired by the cubist work of Picasso and Braque, Brooks abandoned figurative painting to produce work based on cubist analysis of form and respect for the flatness of the picture plane.
In 1946 Brooks met and was profoundly influenced by Jackson Pollock. He began to pour paint on untreated canvas, forgoing for the most part the use of brushes and abandoning cubist conventions for more intuitive composition and paint application.
Brooks is now known as one of the first stain painters, a process that involves pouring pigment directly onto canvas that has not been prepared with a plaster ground to prevent the paint from soaking the canvas. Brooks called his process of the late 1940s “accidental” and “irresponsible,” much like the automatic practices of the surrealists, who encouraged artists to incorporate chance and the subconscious into the creative process.