Lola Brooks began her arts education at Pratt Institute and then went on to study with Jamie Bennett and Myra Mimlitsch-Gray at SUNY New Paltz. In 1996 Lola was included in the Talente exhibition in Munich and since then has participated in many gallery and museum shows around the country including Sparkle then Fade at the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, and Heavy Metal at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. Lola is an artist who appropriates sentimental clichés of love and sentimentality and presents them in a way that begs us to reconsider their depth and power. Her use of stainless steel and gold toys with conventional beliefs about value, underpinning her ongoing obsession with material hierarchies. The Recipient of the Sienna Gallery Emerging Artist Award in 2002, Lola’s work has been reviewed and/or included in many publications including four of the Lark Books jewelry series; American Craft, Metalsmith, Ornament, Out, W, Vogue and BlackBook magazines. She has taught at the University of Georgia where she served as the Lamar Dodd Professorial Chair 2012-13, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and SUNY New Paltz, as well as the 92nd St Y in NYC, Haystack and Penland School of Crafts. Her work can be found in the collections of the Samuel Dorsky Museum, New Paltz, NY, the Racine Museum of Art, Racine, Wisconsin, The Yale Gallery of Art, Yale University New Haven, CT, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Art and Design, NYC as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.
‘In Nirvana’s Valentines’ scourge, the conventions of romantic love take on nightmarish tones, leaving Kurt Cobain’s narrator “trapped for weeks” in his lover‘s “Heart Shaped Box.” For most of her life, the jeweler Lola Brooks shared his fear. “Romantic clichés,” she says, “left a bad taste in my mouth.” And then, one day she fell in love with “romance.” She was finishing an exercise in a wax-carving class and realized she was taken with the “big juicy cleave” of the heart she had just carved. A hip-hop fan, Brooks humorously drew a parallel to JLo’s butt. She remains smitten, and since 2008, the tropes of love in their most obvious forms have overrun her work. There are roses on hearts, bows on hearts, hearts on hearts. Fragonard would be proud. In Sentimental Foolery, her latest series, blood-red garnets set in heart-shaped bezels dangle from heart-shaped brooches. Even the reviled bubblegum pink has crept into her aesthetic, in pink vintage rhinestones and erotic bows coated in Pepto-Bismol enamel. “Even though [they] are like empty shells, I think there’s always tasty cream to suck from them,” she told me. – From Mimi Luse’s article in American Craft, Hard Core Romance: The Jewelry of Lola Brooks, January 2010.