Born in Saskatoon in 1984, Brooklyn Fink is an interdisciplinary studio artist with roots in drawing and painting. Her postconceptualist practice appropriates the visual languages of heraldry (shields), vexillology (flags), graffiti (drawing on the walls), and art history (standing on the shoulders of giants), as means to elevate the discourse around such enduring issues as philosophy, science, morality, sexuality, gender, rhetoric, tradition, and disability.
In 2014, disillusioned with the incoherences within contemporary art discourse, she went in search of, what she was calling then, “a philology of visual language,” and discovered it readymade for her in the ancient practice of heraldry. Heraldry liberates the contemporary visual artist from the vagaries of conceptualist semiology by reacquainting the artist and the viewer with the “heraldic dictionary.” The artist need not be in attendance, neither a didactic be hanging on the wall, for the viewer to understand an heraldic work; for if the viewer does not know what “a saltire raguly Gules” or “a thistle slipped and leaved proper” are, he can just look them up in the dictionary. More recently, she has returned to more subtle visual languages than the heraldic, stepping-back into still-life and the tableau.
Remixing ancient and modern languages, symbolism, mark-making, and materials, Brooklyn creates what are conventionally considered to be
“beautiful” objects, engendered with Athenian taste and animated with Lacedaemonian spirit.
This latest body of work, made possible by a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, was created on residency in Calgary, under the mentorship of photographer Dr Jean-René Leblanc, subverting that subversion, which has dominated contemporary art since the Post-War era, by returning to the symbolic and the figurative in a deep Tenebrist chiarscuro, rendered contemporary through the camera’s lens.