Brooke Pickett is an artist living and working in New Orleans. She earned a M.F.A. in Painting from the University of Albany, State University of New York in 2005 and a B.A. in both Painting and Literature from the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge in 2002. She was an artist in residence at Hotel Pupik, Schrattenberg, Austria in 2009 and at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in 2007. From 2008-2010, Pickett was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Painting at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. She is also the founder and director of Central City Artist Project, a non-profit residency program in New Orleans that creates opportunities for artists to produce work informed by the community and its residents. Her work can be found in numerous collections, including a recent acquisition by the New Orleans Museum of Art.
I used to reference Solomon Burke in my artist statements. His words and songs can be almost pitifully soulful, but his voice is what gives the song strength. As sad as a single painting may be, sometimes the size of the canvas and the handling of the paint are stronger than the sadness. My paintings are abstracted portraits of still lives or arrangements made from discarded objects I’ve collected and organized in my studio. The objects that capture my attention possess the same pitifully soulful quality of Solomon Burke’s music, weathered and beaten over time. I often look at the quilts from Gee’s Bend for the same reason. At first the quilts captivated me because of the visual similarities to abstract painting, but after spending more time with the work it was the ritual and ceremony around the activity of quilting along with the utilitarian purpose of sheltering and warming the human body that won my appreciation. I admire how these women would sew heartbreak and sorrow into something of such beauty. My paintings serve a not so dissimilar service to me—I make paintings whose size and heaviness creates a sensation of permanence for me. I make paintings of broken things, but I make them too heavy to break.
Closing in Against The Weather
I Don't Have Any Role Models
Call and Response