Selected Works

Lola Brooks | Charted Territories
April 20 – May 19, 2011

Lola Brooks began her arts education at Pratt Institute and then went on to study under Jamie Bennett and Myra Mimlitsch-Gray in 1994 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 and Resources: Steel, Rubber, Coal, and Salt at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Lola’s use of stainless steel drives the conceptual content of the work and her underlying interest in 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, Out, W, Vogue, and BlackBook magazines. Lola teaches at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and has been a visiting professor at Rhode Island School of Design, SUNY New Paltz, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Art and Design and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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“Like Narcissus gazing upon the surface of the water, or a dog chasing its tale, I find myself perpetually immersed in my idolatrous obsession with jewelry as my subject matter.

According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and sexual rapture, born of the sea, emerged drenched and luminous from the surf, and the foam which covered her nakedness fell to the ground and became white rose bushes.

It is my belief that all material is laden with meaning and cultural signifiers if only one would choose to pluck the fruit and revel in the succulent and pulpy ripeness of its flesh.

My historical reference points are perhaps oxymoronic; the death obsessed and sentimental Victorians and the optimistic creative vigor and largesse of 20th century costume jewels.

Roses and bows have come to exist as saccharine clichés of beauty, sentiment, perfection and the feminine. In fact, much of their symbolism has become so hackneyed as to have lost much of its meaning. In its absence, we are left with vapid empty shells, mere shadows of their former vainglorious selves.

I find power in accumulation. It is an inextricable piece of who I am in the world. With only a few things, I will asperse them sparingly like a miser, or tuck them away to keep safe, finding pleasure in knowing that they are there, that I have them. And then I hunt for more. If I am lucky, it will become a hoard.

The idea is to tell tales, elaborate tales. Tales of jewelry, about beauty and desire and seduction and love and death. To make jewels that are at once outrageous and utterly believable as such.

To exploit materials, not only for their intrinsic properties, but also for the historical and cultural information with which they are burdened. To embody the conundrum.”