Mt. SAC Catches “Fever Dreams”


Kimberly Brooks in front of her work. Photo by StefanieKeenan

A linen canvas filled with baby blue skies, deep blue water, and tan women who look like angels hanging from green leave trees gravitates you to move closer. The sways of the brush strokes in the painting move back and forth in the distance, but up close they swirl beneath the trees. This painting is 60×48 in. and is called “Los Angeles.”

“Los Angeles” by Kimberly Brooks in BLDG. 1B.

Although Kimberly Brooks sees her artworks like children, who she loves equally, she has strong feelings for this particular painting in her exhibit “Fever Dreams.”

“The large piece ‘Los Angeles’ was an entirely different painting that although it was completed, every time I saw it, I growled with a primal frustration about it not being what I wanted it to be so I painted over it,” Brooks said.

“That is not really an accurate description because it was more like I attacked it with a strange prism of blues and reds with the sole focus of obliterating what was underneath,” she added. Years later, she pulled out it out and fashioned the boughs of a tree filled with abstract angels. When she stood back, she almost burst into tears because it had “achieved, somehow, on accident.”

Brooks is an American artist who has been painting for the past 30 years. She was born in New York and grew up in Mill Valley, a small town on the outskirts of the Golden Gate Bridge in Northern California. This is where her artistic identity came from and lead her to create a show called “Mom’s Friends” about her mother and her friends in the 1970s when she was a child. She got her B.A. in Literature at UC Berkeley. She now lives in Los Angeles and has been featured in 10 different solo exhibition in Florida, Los Angeles, and Texas. Brooks has also been featured in over a dozen group exhibitions, presentations, and featured on book covers.

Exhibition curator Fatemeh Burnes, who is a painter, photographer, and educator was introduced to Brooks years ago.

“Kimberly is here because her passion to being a painter, to painting her interest in exploration and a really amazing dedicated painter. She is also really involved in the arts and that’s really important to us,” Burnes said.

Burnes makes it her mission to bring inspiring artist like Brooks to Mt. SAC. “The art program here really focuses on bringing the world to Mt. SAC to our students and community because we are sort of isolated. We are LA County, but we are not at the center of the arts in Los Angeles. Our social economics and many different reasons here do not provide our students with the exposure we need so gallery is very instrumental.”

As an artistic woman herself, Burnes views feminism as when you don’t restrict yourself with any stereotypes of being an artist and exercising who you are by wanting to open up and reach your limits. Although Burnes does not make art about gender, she sees Brooks as someone who has a ‘strong women supporting women’ community and connecting with others.

Brooks’ techniques of finding inspiration is to write stories and draw them on paper before painting with oil on a canvas. These small paintings are shared in the exhibition for the first time. Not only does she use paint on canvases, but also oil paint mixed with gold and silver.

Gold and silver mixed with oil paint is displayed during Kimberly Brooks exhibit in BLDG. 1B.

For Brooks, the exhibition name “Fever Dreams” has meaning.

“I often adopt different lenses to create work. I created this based on the idea of a dream, but the kind that fades in and out and doesn’t quite make sense but has meaning nonetheless, like a fever dream,” Brooks said.

The exhibition is located in the Art Gallery building 1B. The Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday nights 5 to 7:30 p.m.