Emerging Artists | Hebe Brooks

Fabrics and reflections

Hebe Brooks, 4pm Tea Time, oil, 20 x 30.

Hebe Brooks, 4pm Tea Time, oil, 20 x 30.

This story was featured in the January 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Texas painter Hebe Brooks has journeyed back and forth between realism and abstraction during her career, but these days she has thoroughly embraced realism. In fact, as this story was going to press, one of her paintings won Best Still Life at the International Guild of Realism Juried Exhibition at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC.

Brooks, who grew up in Patagonia, Argentina, has drawn, painted, and taken private art lessons since she was young. She went on to enroll in art classes at Patagonia’s Universidad Nacional del Comahue and later earned a second bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Houston. Today her work has several signature elements. One of these is her use of reflections, whether they are gracing a gleaming silver teapot in a still-life painting or a crystal-clear lake in a landscape. Brooks says her mission in depicting reflections is to engage viewers and cause them to question where the real object starts, where it ends, and what part of it is actually a reflection of something else.

Another common element is her use of fabric—the material twists and turns its way through Brooks’ work and is often an integral part of the composition. Sometimes the fabric ensconces a female figure like a cocoon; other times it serves as the backdrop for a glass bowl brimming with fruit. “Fabric speaks for a lot of aspects in our culture,” Brooks says. “It can represent luxury, patriotism, softness, a time in history, even an organic or an abstract concept. Fabric helps me convey a certain message or feeling.”

Brooks says that in all of her work, she is trying to go beyond what a photograph can depict by enhancing the colors, adding the blind spots that a camera might miss, and conveying a feeling that can’t be manifested through a photographic lens. “I guess my realism is a way to express the feeling that, at any given time, the human creativity, the spirit, and the hand can surpass the existing technology,” she says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff

Xanadu Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Dutch Art Gallery, Dallas, TX.

Featured in the January 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art January 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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