Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Pegan Brooke Wants You to Linger at Her Paintings
Pegan Brooke stands between two of her paintings at Gail Severn Gallery. PHOTO: Karen Bossick
Monday, July 22, 2019


Light shimmering on Silver Creek, a prize trout stream south of Bellevue, becomes more than an exercise in meditation for Pegan Brooke.

It becomes the basis for a shimmering oil painting composed of gestural marks that will eventually find its way into someone’s private collection or even a museum such as the Guggenheim Museum or the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts.

“I love the shimmering of light on water. It’s evocative,” said Brooke, who lived off and on in Ketchum for seven years and has been coming to the Sun Valley area for 15 years.

Pegan Brooke S-248 84-by-60-inch oil on canvas

Brooke’s paintings are informed by her environs. And “Light-Water-Space,” her latest body of work currently being shown at Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum, has been inspired by sustained reflection on the Big Wood River as it courses past Ketchum, the Aven River in Pont Aven, France and the Pacific Ocean near her home in Bolinas, Calif.

Her silvery gray palettes are even inspired by the play of light on the snow that blankets Sun Valley in winter.

“The way those landscapes change with the ebb and flow of light, she says, is a metaphor for the ever- changing flux in our lives. Her hope is that viewers will have an understanding, an epiphany.

“Then the fog rolls in,” she adds.

Pegan Brooke S-231 60-by-42-inch oil on canvas

Brooke creates structure, penciling in lines on her paintings. Then, with a twist of her wrist, she works her way across the lines over and over.

“I think of it as writing. I go from left to right as I paint, just as if I were writing. And I think that nature has all the information we need. The sparkle, the light, I find compelling. It makes me slow down and contemplate.”

Brooke paints an abstract, rather than a realistic landscape, because “I’m not trying to tell you what I saw. I’m trying to capture the feeling. My work is abstract because it leaves it open for you to interpret. I want to give you enough beauty to have you want to contemplate it for yourself.”

It doesn’t hurt, she said, that nature is constantly changing. And, she notes, her own paintings change, as well, with the turning on or off of a light switch or even the suns rays streaming through a window.

“I’m just trying to create a space that stimulates viewers, a space that’s beautiful enough that the viewer will want to linger.”


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