James Brook's practice is concerned with memory - how places, faces and events are remembered and how images (whether painting, drawing, photograph or electronic image) can act as a vehicle, not only to record these memories but also to act as a catalyst to trigger memories, emotions and desires. A constant preoccupation has been an investigation into the mechanics of seeing and recognition: how paintings are 'read', their meanings understood and how the conventions of painting - mark-making, perspective - allow a flat surface to be read in three dimensions.
In recent works, autobiographical elements have been integrated into the paintings, re-visiting themes that had informed earlier paintings and exploring masculinities and gay sexual identities. James wanted to 'introduce an aspect of play to the work and to create works that were less self-reflexive and were more about my self'. The result is a new series of works, 'Digital Shrines': these works reference constructivist sculptures but become functional objects - shelves - by the placing of framed photographs on them. The photographs themselves are culled from the Internet and are an analogue to the painted figures in earlier works.
Essentially, all the works in this show are a kind of collage: melding together seemingly disparate elements from the history of painting but also from graphic design and architecture. The sources for these works can be anything from catalogue reproductions of nineteenth century American landscape paintings, newspaper photographs to images from the Internet. For James Brook, the Internet exists as a kind of external hard drive for the brain - a space for the virtual exchange of images and ideas.
James Brook is particularly interested in the slippages that occur between the artist's intention and what an artwork actually transmits ' this faulty relationship and the resulting thought processes that it engenders represent how creative play can feed the imagination, giving the mind a space in which to soar.