American, 1906 - 1992
James Brooks was primarily an abstract painter, fascinated by the painterly accidents yielded by diluting oil paint with glue, enamel, and other household products. An early Abstract Expressionist and friend of Jackson Pollock, he experimented with Automatism and free brushwork after discarding the Social Realism of his early career (during which he created one of his most famous works, Flight (1942), a mural at LaGuardia Airport). Brooks was a pioneer in the use of staining, dilution, and accidental deterioration of canvases to create uncontrolled abstraction; he often applied his mixtures of commercial products and paints directly from the tube to create thick, deep surfaces, before adding in fluid lines and abstract shapes. His later works moved towards a purer exploration of color and form.