Dioscuri by Therin Brooks
Now What by Georgia Long
New work by Therin Brooks and Georgia Long
This month, Piante gallery presents two painters whose work couldn't be more stylistically dissimilar. Despite visual diversity, Therin Brooks (who uses they/them) and Georgia Long are both showing work born from explorations of uncertainty.
Brooks' classically rendered, mystical portraits make up their show, "Mercurial." The exhibition has added significance. "I'm going back to school to become a therapist," Brooks said. "I'll probably stop painting. I'm packing up my studio, making room for a study." The pending professional transition has been creatively freeing. "It was, 'What do I want to paint for me,'" they said. They arrived at a portrait project using friends as subjects. Brooks set out to capture each individual's definitive, "true" self, but, confronted with the complex layering that is identity, they became frustrated. "It's been a revelation," Brooks said. "I realized it's an impossible task. There's this myth that we can see the truth about people. It just isn't so. People, especially queer people, have so much societal pressure to have external signifiers, but something's always hidden." Once Brooks settled on uncertainty as truth instead of problem, the project moved forward. They noted that they consider the portraits collaborations. As such, proceeds will be split between artist and subjects to "acknowledge the role the model's lived experience plays as muse," said Brooks.
Georgia Long's exhibition of new abstract paintings, "(No)thing…is certain," also stems from a growing sense of changeability and unpredictability. "It seems you can't go a day without hearing about lives upended. Everything's unstable, scattered. Everyone seems to be dealing with this. It's almost the new normal," said Long. While Long stays true to her impasto style, muted backgrounds and shocks of color, this group of paintings introduces more figurative elements than in the past. Shapes suggestive of figures and even structures appear. "It's more of a departure because there's a narrative aspect that runs through this group. I've never been this narrative. I set out to do purely abstract pieces and it just turned into this and I felt like I should go with it." The paintings, mixed media on treated paper, are all 22" x 30". This uniformity of size heightens the sense of tension in the work: The group becomes a visual representation of that all-too-familiar human desire for order and certainty in an uncertain world.