Sandra Brewster: Precious Sense
To visit the exhibition preview, click here.
In Person Exhibition: February 2 – February 19
Artist Talk: February 3 at 5PM in the Humanities Center, Conference Room D. If necessary, this event will take place on Zoom.
The Hartnett Gallery is pleased to present Sandra Brewster’s Precious Sense, an exhibition of new and recent works that are part of the artist’s acclaimed Blur series. The exhibited portraits allude to her parents and peers’ migration from Guyana to Canada in the late 1960s and the echoes that these events continue to emit. This project reveals the artist grappling with the way movement—whether in the form of migration, the circulation of history, or a body turning before the camera—disrupts the notion of identity as something stable, singular, and whole. The images carry a spectral quality, oscillating between varying levels of recognizability. This effect is achieved through Brewster’s method: her sitters are asked to move while she takes their photographs; she then uses photo-based gel transfers to capture the fleeting gestures of her subjects. Bridging the gap between places and time, the works in Precious Sense suggest that one’s sense of self is anticipatory and uncertain, part of who we are yet never fully bound to us.
Precious Sense is presented as part of the programming for the 2021-2022 Sawyer Seminar at the University of Rochester. Entitled “Unbordering Migration in the Americas: Causes, Experiences, Identities,” this series of lectures, workshops, and other events is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and organized in conjunction with the University of Rochester Humanities Center. This Sawyer Seminar enables interdisciplinary research into the movement of peoples in the Western Hemisphere both past and present, with an emphasis on issues of social justice. Precious Sense is also cosponsored by the Frederick Douglas Institute for African and African-American Studies.
About the artist
Sandra Brewster is a Canadian visual artist based in Toronto, whose work has been exhibited nationally and abroad. Through her community-based practice, she engages with themes including identity, representation, and memory, centering a Black presence located in Canada. The daughter of Guyanese-born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with back home. Brewster’s meditations on being and place are expressed within her drawings, video, and photo-based mixed media works that range from 2-dimensional pieces to installations that incorporate the architecture of spaces.
Recent solo exhibitions include Blur at the Art Gallery of Ontario (2019/20), Token | Contemporary Ongoing at A Space Gallery in Toronto, Or Gallery in Vancouver, and the Art Gallery of Guelph. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. She was the 2018 recipient of the Artist Prize from Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts. She is represented by the Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto.
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