Rebecca Brewer

12 November - 17 December, 2016

Catriona Jeffries is pleased to present Rebecca Brewer’s most recent series of paintings and large scale felt works. The exhibition’s central constellation of paintings embodies, obliquely, the four stages of a day - dawn, noon, sunset and dusk – articulating both the light and psychic conditions that characterize them for the artist herself. Performing as conceivable windows, the paintings contemplate times of day as transitions through mental and physical states. The work reflects on wakefulness and exhaustion, positing a space in between: a non-binary vitality of weariness – weariness both as a space of intensity and as a secret knowledge or insight.

In relation, four hanging felt works are to be considered from both sides, the physical and time intensive process of felting on this scale in direct conversation with the surrounding painting. While the temporal process of painting itself can be a contemplative bodily action, the severely physical and time consuming act of binding fibres together in felting is one of direct mediation through bodily activity. The planes and depth in both mediums push and pull, as recognizable forms and lines conjure images and then recede into complex compositions in colour and texture. Snakes merge into the leading of stained glass, on which hang clothes; cobwebs, flowers, vines, mollusks and moths appear and fade.

Working with references to alternative visual histories from feminism, occultism and alternative medicine – sources that parallel and contrast the artistic canon - Brewer proposes an altered experience. Celebrating neurodiversity and transmundane experience as a form of resistance, as opposed to celebrating the avant garde, Brewer asks “can we queer the art historical canon?” Her network of research and references include, but are not limited to: pop-psychology, psychoanalysis, neuroscience, synaesthesia, automatic painting, Italian sottobosco (literally undergrowth) painting, intelligent systems in the plant and animal world, dark ecology, Alice Miller’s therapy paintings and the Occult sigils of Art Nouveau artist Austin Osman Spare.

Rebecca Brewer (b. 1983, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. Her practice is centered in painting as a discourse, spanning material approaches from conventional painting media to textiles and printmaking. The work takes as a given an interrelationship between cognition and perception, abstraction and representation and looks to historical precedents that explore this non-dualistic premise in art. Brewer addresses the artificial divisions between sensation and intellect, intuition and experimental methods, the emotional lives of producers and the activisms of their projects.  Solo exhibitions include 'The Written Face' at Catriona Jeffries (2014), and 'Nine Paintings of Ayn Rand' at Exercise (2012). Her work has been included in group exhibitions, including 'Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures', Vancouver Art Gallery (forthcoming 2016); 'The Fraud that Goes Under the Name of Love', Audain Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (2016); 'L’intruse', Marcelle Alix, Paris (2014); and 'Skirt the Parlour, and Shun the Zoo', Walter Philips Gallery, Banff (2013). Brewer received an MFA from Bard College in 2013, a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2007, and she was the winner of the RBC Painting Competition in 2011.

Texts by Anne Boyer, Amy Kazymerchyk, and cheyanne turions here