Jason Brooks’ larger-than-life portraits may recall those of Chuck Close, but the resemblance is only skin-deep. The sports-car-driving Brooks is not a serial formalist painter like Close. Looking at Brooks’s Zoe (2004) from close proximity reveals his fetishistic fixation with surface, the skin of the painting.
Brooks airbrush transforms every spot, fissure, and pimple on his subject’s face into microcosm of gestural markings. Zoe’s tattoos become pictures within the picture. Slowly backing away from the painting, a moment of unitary cohesion occurs, the mysterious point where all the abstract minutiae miraculously converge into the simulacrum of a crisp photograph.