Sandra Brewster — Érika Nimis

[Summer 2021]

Works from series:
Smith, Blur; Video: Walk on by
Optica, un centre d’art contemporain, Montréal
16.02.2021 — 03.04.2021

By Érika Nimis

After long months of forced restraint, what a pleasure it is to return to visiting visual arts venues in person! I tested out this pleasure by going to Optica to see Toronto artist Sandra Brewster’s first solo exhibition in Montreal.

Brewster, whose parents are from Guyana, attends closely to the multiple migration experiences of Caribbean communities and addresses in great detail the questions of identity and image in her works. Deconstruction of the portrait and the representation of racialized and Black people are at the heart of her creative process. In particular, she transfers images onto various supports (paper, wood, video) – images incorporating phonebook pages, as in the series Smith (2011–19), or photographic portraits, as in the series Blur (2018–19). The image-transfer technique works as a metaphor for movement – that, among others, of her family’s migration to Toronto in the late 1960s.

In the first gallery, our gaze is grabbed by a series of ninety-six black-and-white silver-print bust portraits. We seek, in vain, to grasp the expressions in all of these faces, which are strangely blurred…


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 117 – SHIFTED