Rebecca Brewer

The work of Rebecca Brewer (b. 1983, Tokyo; lives and works: Vancouver) is an investigation into painterly abstraction drawing from visual histories of feminism, occultism, and alternative medicine. She works primarily in oil on canvas and also produces large-scale, two-sided felted wool compositions, typically hung suspended from the ceiling. Her felted works, in their scale and composition reference the histories of tapestry and heraldry.

Though abstract in appearance, with organic, snaking lines and often acidic bursts of colour, her works are windows into the psyche, attempts to, as she states, “queer the canon” by drawing on references, inspirations, and methods from psychoanalysis, synaesthesia, automatic painting, Italian sottobosco [undergrowth] painting, and intelligent systems in the plant and animal world. For example, in her vertical, twelve-foot high felted work, Silent Running (2018), a wide grid covers a dark backdrop, curving upward in the direction of its hanging, suggesting a net filled with amorphous forms trawled up from some sort of nether space. The artist’s process of layering the wool to create the composition is visible and inverted on the opposite side, exhibiting the vibrant, trawled forms in their entirety, dominating the historically-laden grid which takes precedence on the reverse. Brewer thus uses abstraction and material processes to blur the association between the grid in art history as a means of structuring virtual planes of knowledge and vision, and the net as tool used by humans in the natural world.

Brewer received an MFA from Bard College in 2013, and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2007; she was the winner of the 2011 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Brewer has had solo exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2020); Oakville Galleries, Canada (with Rochelle Goldberg, 2019); Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2014, 2016); and Exercise, Vancouver (2012). Her work has been included in group exhibitions, including at Oakville Galleries, Canada (2018); Vancouver Art Gallery (2016); The Audain Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (2016); Marcelle Alix, Paris (2014); and Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff (2013).