Seeking inspiration from the likes of Matisse and Degas from an early age on, Brooke Werhane Maples’ work pulls through the history of 20th century male gaze and painting. She picks up on Matisse’s flatness and two dimensional canvas room and drags it through Basquiat’s chauvinistic farce of inhabiting the space with the self, constantly questioning the role of painting with a diary-like use of words and writing.
But here’s the twist: Brooke Werhane Maples' works are never chauvinistic or selfish or flat. Taking a century of male gaze and painting, she takes over the language of maleness and makes it so purely female – fragile, beautiful and at the same time strong as can be.
Her flowers drip of friskiness and the figures in her paintings manifest themselves to the viewer playfully and strong while at the same time revealing their vulnerability. Alice O’Neill and Frida Kahlo come to mind when thinking about the context and the place of raw feminine emotion that triggers her work.
‘As I moved through my studies in art history and environmental design I continued drawing and painting, I was inspired by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Phillip Johnston, Willem de Kooning and John Singer Sargent.’ It is both architects and artists that continued to influence her work. ‘The body, movement, energy and translating human emotion through painting is a constant goal in my practice.’
Brooke Werhane Maples
Lives and works in New York, NY and Westport, CT