River Scrolls

The River Scrolls began with a notebook full of drawings made by the Truckee River. Imagining them assembled into a long scroll form, about forty drawings were used to make the first large River Scroll at Magnolia Editions. Subsequent trips to other rivers, streams and fountains yielded different line qualities, and suggested other variations, from the minimal to the Baroque.
Donna Brookman 2013

Metamorphosis Large Prints

The larger Metamorphosis prints grew out of the process of working on the book, and suggest a vortex of transformation. They begin with fragments of old engravings and text that are collaged, drawn and painted, then made into photo-etching plates. Each image is hand-printed in an edition of ten.

I began the Ragini paintings in the Spring of 2007, after my first trip to India. I had been looking at Indian painting for many years, fascinated by its vitality and beauty. But I was unprepared for the place itself, challenging and complex. Recognizing a powerful antidote to certain dimensions of contemporary Western culture, I embarked on a series of small studies based on miniatures.

Beginning to explore the complex use of color, the energetic engagement of the painter with every detail of the natural world, made me realize that this tradition embodied a fundamentally different view of humans in the world. The world of miniatures is buzzing and blooming. Water swirls in the river, storms gather and burst; the landscape is fully alive.

Coming from a Northern European background, educated in minimalism and austerity, this was revelatory, and challenging. And yet it was aligned with my deepest intuition about the nature of reality, that it was fundamentally energetic and unified.

I remember when I first learned about atoms, and how much space existed within them. Solid form began to dematerialize before me and the world shifted. Form as a concentration of energy rather than an absolute became fundamental to my way of seeing.

And music, always central to working in the studio, became more explicit in the work. Rhythmic complexity, theme and variations, musical concepts interpreted visually, suggest a more fundamental form of knowing the world. Unlike the western tradition of subject and background, which emphasizes man’s dominance over nature, the Ragini paintings depict a world in which we remember that we are integrated at the deepest level with all that surrounds us.

Donna Brookman 2010