Giotto in many senses can be seen as the father of modern painting. Vasari credited him with the re-birth of painting, ‘setting it once again on the right track, from which it had strayed’. Another earlier writer notes “Giotto translated the art of painting from Greek into Latin and made it modern” – in other words breaking from the prevailing Byzantine style of his day and introducing a freshness with new ideals of naturalism, depicting physical and emotional truths in a groundbreaking way.
His dynamic use of space, colour and light was seen as a bridge between ‘the spiritual’ and ‘the natural’, blending these two arenas so effectively they become virtually synonymous at points. ‘Waiting for Giotto’ Glenys Brookbanks 4th solo exhibition at nkb Gallery seeks to explore this area of tangible metaphysics or otherness; the ethereal qualities of the natural world and the inherent beauty of the every day. For Brookbanks the spiritual and the natural – much like theory and practice – are so intricately entwined distinguishing one from the other often involves loss for either.
Brookbanks’ latest broken colour field paintings, cut through with geometric rhythms are delightfully fluid rather than rigid or un-yielding, like much earlier hard-edge abstraction. These are lively works of line, shape, texture and unusually rich in colour for Glenys, inviting the best from viewers with their deafeningly warm tones, embodying an interactive optimism that is anything but naive. These new paintings are subtly sophisticated and grapple with weighty issues in a refreshing lightness.
Glenys Brookbanks has been exhibiting since the late eighties. Her work is held in many of New Zealand’s top public and private collections: including a number of works in the James Wallace Arts Trust, Te Papa Tongarewa, Fletcher Trust Collection and Auckland City Council