Brooks work is rooted in landscape – particularly wild, remote, sometimes bleak locations – and a fascination with its small-scale details and textures. He works in academic science, studying the interactions between atmosphere and ocean and their role in climate, particularly in the polar regions. Field measurement campaigns take him to some of the world’s most remote and beautiful locations, providing inspiration and source material for artwork. Home is on the edge of the southern Pennine hills and Yorkshire Dales, where Ian walks regularly with a couple of sketchbooks, drawing in graphite and sepia ink.
Brooks finds etching provides an ideal medium with which to portray what are largely monochrome landscapes. He uses the traditional technique of sugar-lift aquatint, building up the image in layers of tightly-controlled drawing, and more abstract, semi-random marks which mimic the natural textures of the landscape. While working on the etchings he finds a constant tension between a natural tendency towards realism and finely rendered detail and a desire to simplify and abstract the image to achieve a looser rendering that maintains the energy of the sketches made from life.