Tempera on gesso on board
1000 x 1200mm
Auckland artist Glenys Brookbanks is a former primary school teacher who later graduated BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts. Her first solo exhibition was held in 1988 at RKS Art, Auckland and since then she has been a frequent exhibitor throughout New Zealand. Her work was included in the City Gallery, Wellington’s 1995 influential show of contemporary New Zealand painting, A Very Peculiar Practice and also in the Govett Brewster, New Plymouth’s 1996 Skirted Abstraction which was devoted to work by women abstract painters. Brookbanks is one of those women painters who take the minimalist colour field made by men and ruffle its hard edged surfaces to create an art which the critic Justin Paton has named Diaphanism. The works are cool in colour, hushed and suggestive.
Brookbanks takes the classical modernist grid structure and subverts the geometrical trellis by boring small holes in the gesso or tempera surface. On top of this ground this she makes washes of fine marks in pencil which contradict the superimposed grid’s regularity. The result is a painting of feather-like delicacy underpinned with a firm structure. Like Luise Fong, Glenys Brookbanks is concerned with the “skin” of her art. The viewer becomes interested in negotiating its many shifting surface changes. This is very different from the way we read the tightly constructed surfaces of earlier modern abstract painting in which plane, field and edge were of primary concern. Linda Tyler has written that Brookbanks’ painting “offers a quiet homage to geometry which is touched with mystery.”