Born in Auckland in 1948, Glenys Brookbanks completed a Diploma in Teaching at Auckland Teachers’ Training College before attending Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts, graduating with a BFA in 1988.
Brookbanks’ work is, in essence, an extension of the Minimalist tradition, employing the reductionist techniques of U.S. artists like Frank Stella and Barnett Newman. However, her work is closer in spirit to that of Agnes Martin, who used the extreme limitations on palette and structure expected of Minimalism to provoke a spiritual, rather than, intellectual response to the painted surface.
In works like Brookbanks’ Panel; Perforated series – the repetitive perforations in acoustic hardboard create the structural basis for a Minimalist approach, which is repeated through the application of thick graphite line. This hard-edged style is then humanised by the soft rubbing of graphite and the painting of tempera on gesso in a manner that subverts the mechanics of the grid with colour and curve. As a result, the regularity of line and hole mixed with the softness and delicacy of palette provides a more organic, tranquil and meditative quality than one would expect from the traditional minimalist framework.
Glenys Brookbanks has participated in numerous group and solo shows and her works are held in various public and private collections throughout NZ, including Te Papa Tongarewa, the Wallace Art Trust Collection and the Gibbs Collection.