Artists: Rebecca Brewer, Rochelle Goldberg
Venue: Oakville Galleries, Oakville
Exhibition Title: Waves and Waves
Date: March 31 – June 2, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Oakville Galleries, Oakville. Photos by Laura Findlay.
In Waves and Waves, longtime friends and artists Rochelle Goldberg and Rebecca Brewer engage a dialogue between their respective practices, with their distinct ideas unfolding in a shared space for the first time. The project sees both artists explore our assumptions about ecology and human life. Brewer’s recent textile works recall dream-like perceptions—with a permeability that suggests translation, exchange and the hallucinatory—seen here alongside new paintings that stem from an early memory of being carried out to sea on a wave. Goldberg’s sculptural works evoke material transitions, tactility and the traces that contact leaves on human bodies, landscapes and other living beings. Evocative of a drowned world, the exhibition engages the sensorial, emotional and perceptual experience of submergence.
Throughout the gallery, Brewer has suspended a series of mesh-like silk and wool textile works. Bearing visual elements often associated with therapeutic art—expressionistic marks suggesting destructive energies, eruptions, and their various residues—these works appear purely formal at first glance but reveal a litany of personal notations, cryptic linguistic fragments and other detritus. As with Brewer’s other works in the exhibition, these pieces grapple with the relationship between sensation and systems of intelligence—both those stemming from human life and those endemic to plants, animals and the broader biosphere. A pair of new paintings in the show evoke a fragmented world of flora and fauna—frogs, nautilus shells, seaweed—alongside traces of its decline—suggesting an ocean marred by garbage and a diminishing aquatic habitat. These works are accompanied by embossed abstractions on vellum, framed by worn, pearlescent resin that recalls ocean flotsam and glistening algae. Fecundity, garishness, aggression, and the refusal of legibility pervade Brewer’s works for Waves and Waves, in which emotional dysregulation and incoherent memory are tangled in oceanic metaphors.
In For Every Living Carcass, Goldberg likewise engages a submerged oceanic realm, presenting a fleet of human-scaled fish forms, both fleshless and animate. Rendered in ceramic and steel, these ghost-like species upend the relationship between predator and prey, a reminder that current patterns of consumption and declining ocean life presage a precarious future. Corporeality, extinction and the passage of time are also central to Goldberg’s Intralocutors, but through a starkly different lens. Comprised of sculptures that bring together unexpected combinations of materials—from lost-wax bronze casting to luminescent fiber optics—these works reframe the legacy of Mary of Egypt. Considered a sexual deviant according to fourth-century moral law, Mary turned away from the temptations of the carnal and material to pursue a life of scarcity in the desert. In these works, Goldberg posits Mary as a self- liberated and transcendental figure rather than a merely penitent one, one whose body and environment would eventually become one and the same. In reshaping this narrative, Goldberg highlights the ways in which our understanding of life—and how we think about bodily decay, survival and our relationship to the tactile world—is always shifting, tethered to larger forces, both ecological and cultural.
Rebecca Brewer (b. 1983, Tokyo; lives and works in Vancouver) has had solo exhibitions at Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2014, 2016) and at Exercise, Vancouver (2012). Her work has been included in group exhibitions, at institution such as the Vancouver Art Gallery (2016 & 2017); SFU Galleries (2016); Marcelle Alix, Paris (2014); and Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff (2013). 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 is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.
Rochelle Goldberg (b. 1984, Vancouver; lives and works in New York) has had solo exhibitions at institutions such as The Power Station, Dallas (2019); GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2016); and SculptureCenter, Long Island City, USA (2016). She has also been included in numerous group exhibitions, such as Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris (2017); Whitney Museum, New York (2016); Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund, Germany (2016); The Artist’s Institute, New York (2016); and Swiss Institute, New York (2015). Goldberg holds an MFA from Bard College, and has done residencies at The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas (2018); Atelier Calder, Saché, France (2017); and Thun Ceramic Residency, Bolzano, Italy (2016). In 2018, she was awarded the Battaglia Foundry’s Sculpture Prize #03, by the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Milan (2018). Goldberg is represented by Miguel Abreu, New York, and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.