Fredericton artist Andrea Brewer presents new work as part of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s 10th annual Studio Watch: Emerging Artist Series.
It was midnight on the eve of the program deadline when Andrea Brewer decided to pull herself out of bed and get her application in order for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s Studio Watch series.
“I’d been putting it off and putting it off,” said Brewer, before deciding to give it a shot. “In the end, I just decided I had nothing to lose.”
She eventually received word that she made it to the final review stages of the process and would be visited by project curator Bernard Riordon, an experience she considered to be as good as winning.
“Part of the review process involves a studio visit,” said Brewer, “which is amazing in itself and something at the time I thought about including on my resumé. Everything Mr. Riordon said and everything he explained about the program made for one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had as an artist.”
Brewer was ultimately named as the panel’s choice to represent the tenth edition of Studio Watch program with an exhibit of her own at one of the country’s most recognized art galleries and her first since graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Craft and Design.
Then came the decision of what to include in the show. Brewer’s work in recent years has included everything from grazing animals to plates of meat. In the end, she decided to use this opportunity to improve her portrait work.
Brewer’s study of portraits shifted between oils and watercolour, resulting in a hybrid approach, capturing the essences of her subjects while steering clear of a complete traditional likeness so often associated with portraiture.
“A few years ago I realized I have really been avoiding human portraits in my work,” said Brewer, “and I decided I really had to figure this out. I was teaching at the time and had a student who really wanted to work on portraits so I just drove right in.”
“I stopped trying to make my paintings look like the subject and focused more on the patterns of the brush strokes and doing something interesting with colours. I’ve always been really interested in colour and what a colour does. How it makes you feel.”
Her exploration came to involve both humans and animals subjects with the latter becoming a major focus of her recent work.
Her exhibit involves a total of 20 oil paintings with 18 new works including 25 individual dog portraits arranged as one large display piece, each created since she was first presented with the opportunity.
While she is undeniably excited about her upcoming exhibit and the work it involves, Brewer remains adamant in expressing her gratitude to the program and gallery staff that helped make this giant step forward a relaxing and natural process.
“I’ve been incredibly supported through the entire program,” she said. “Everyone I’ve dealt with from the campaign assistant to the staff at the gallery, they’re so encouraging and it’s almost unbelievable how wonderful they are. It’s already been a great experience for me.”
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s Studio Watch: Emerging Artist Series featuring the work of Andrew Brewer opens with a public reception on Sunday October 5 at 2pm.