Bethany Brooke: Art For Good
Though the weather has made it feel as though summer might never come this year, it’s finally almost upon us and we can’t wait to embrace the Summer ’17 Season, MBH style! To kick things off we welcome Bethany Brooke as our first Artist In Residence this year. A self-proclaimed “woman of fairly few words,” her stunning work speaks for itself and provides the “pause for reflection” we all need, particularly as the seasons change and we look positively ahead.
We look forward to another epic season together and hope that the magic of the summer sun gives you light and the waves of our shores remind you to stay grounded!
In anticipation of Bethany’s residency we picked her brain about work, life, and doing good. Here’s our chat…
From finance to fine art, your career trajectory was anything but typical…how did you make the transition and what inspired it?
Very true! I’ve always been drawn to the arts, especially living in NYC for over ten years, one cannot help but take a keen interest in the culture that surrounds you on a daily basis. After attending Barnard College, I pursued a career in finance largely because I fell in love with the quick pace and the ever-changing dynamics of the markets. Every day was unexpected and challenging, I was drawn to the energy behind it all. However, it was motherhood that bridged the gap between my career in finance and my career as an artist. My tenure in finance ended upon the arrival of my first child. As an at-home mother, I threw myself into all of my creative outlets, especially painting. It was during this time in my life that I took a step back to reflect upon my passions. Throughout my life, painting has always been a hobby, beginning as a young girl and carrying me through young adulthood. However, recently it has been a force greater than me. I paint daily and have been for a little over one year now. I am literally moved to the canvas. Since I have three small children, I paint at home which gives me the luxury to paint throughout my entire day and I love that method.
You work closely with Al’s Angel’s – tell us more about the charity and your involvement…
Absolutely! Al’s Angels is an organization based in Westport, Connecticut that was founded on the mission of providing moments of cheer and support to families facing childhood cancer, rare blood diseases, and the financial hardship that often accompanies battling such illnesses. We have been active volunteers and benefactors of Al’s Angels for a few years and our family’s involvement with this mission has filled our lives with love.
There are a few things I do in my life that bring me pure exuberance, helping others and painting both happen to be at the top of that list. I have now found a way to marry these efforts. If my paintings bring beauty or pause for reflection to the lives of those who acquire them and the proceeds can help thousands of others in need, then my art is truly the gift that keeps on giving. We live in a very controversial world, where I believe small acts of generosity and thoughtfulness can have a big impact. Although my style of art may not be the aesthetic or visual content that vastly promotes a children’s charity, it is my hope that collectors feel a connection to giving back through owning my art that ties all of this together.
The pieces you’re showing at the MBH have a moody and magical quality that evokes the ocean when put in the context of Montauk’s surroundings – when and where were they created and what did you draw inspiration from?
Water plays a large part in my life. We live on the Connecticut shoreline and spend a lot of time in and around the water. For me, water symbolizes so much: birth, spirituality, energy, it is such a powerful element and can provoke various emotions within people. Meditation is also a primary focus of mine and I think the combination of the two is inherent in my work.
I’m a woman of fairly few words, so to me my art is a form of expression and a strong representation of myself. Like me, it represents a juxtaposition between minimalism and intricacies. Much of my aesthetic is crisp, but fluid – forcing the eye to wander through the work. As the work evolves, the palette may lighten or darken and shapes may meld providing an optical illusion. To me, my art represents self-exploration and growth. It is my hope that it forces the viewer to take pause, reflect and connect.
How do you plan on spending your time out east? What are you looking forward to most?
I’m very excited to explore the natural elements of Montauk and all of its raw beauty. To me, there is something very mystical about the beaches out east. I know it will provide boundless inspiration for works to come!
Bethany’s work will be on display in the lobby through mid-June.
Stay tuned for details on the opening party!