Pegan Brooke: 3 paintings 3 video poems in Contemplative Practice
By Courtney Gilbert
Curator of Visual Arts
Sun Valley Center for the Arts
Pegan Brooke makes nature-based abstract paintings that invite us to pause and look closely— to spend time immersed in the fields of muted color and light she presents on her canvases. Inspired by reflections of light on water in northern California or the movement of light through Idaho’s snowy aspen forests, Brooke’s paintings consist of carefully organized grids, each constructed with precise gestural marks. Her paintings are luminescent and radiant, but quiet, requiring that one “decelerate,” as the art critic Mark Van Proyen has written, when viewing them. Making these paintings is, for Brooke, a contemplative, reflective and philosophical practice—one in which she invites the viewer to participate.
On display here are three of Brooke’s paintings made in Sun Valley. Meditations on the color and quality of light, they are also considerations of time—of the way light changes during the course of a day, or even a moment. Time is a factor in the viewer’s relationship to these paintings, too. As we move in front of them, each painting’s shimmering, reflective surface shifts and changes, taking on a kinetic quality. Their surfaces change, too, with subtle shifts in natural light, so that even the stillest viewer may experience different iterations of each of Brooke’s paintings.
Time plays a more visible role in the video work on display here, including a selection of Brooke’s video poems and a new, interactive video installation, all linked in different ways to the idea of contemplation. Viewers are invited to step inside the booth, to pause, and to spend time in reflection. Cup your hands together as you stand beneath the projection and enjoy the experience of holding projected water in your hands.