Rebecca Brewer - Tilley Hat, 2007
Rebecca Brewer - Tilley Hat, 2007

Rebecca Brewer
Over and Over the Hills

If the historical Romantic Hero were alive today—whether cloaked (as He would likely be) in the flecked red and black shadows of a Victorian opiate hotel, or else in an upholstered diner somewhere, quietly mulling over His notebook with a head full of abstract muses and reggae—then He might be surprised to learn that the latest incarnation of His Spirit has emerged with unblinking eyes to absorb morning’s warm light! For this new romantic the residue of a magical past has been imagined, and then self-consciously co-opted as taboo towards the forces of progress responsible for giving us everything from impotent liberalism to a doomed ecological situation to hyper-reality. Having been produced by this schizophrenic milieu, and hence well-aware of the limits of rationality, the mystic of today chooses to ramp things up anyways with a healthy dose of metaphysics.

The pursuit of the Sublime has remained as unchanged a quest as it has been a doomed and irreducible one, and it is perhaps this pragmatic characteristic of the romantic mind—to seek out a morning after the long Dark Night of the Soul in spite of all odds—which lends it weight. To navigate the fine line between genuflection and knowing better, and certainly with pragmatic intent, Rebecca Brewer has gotten down to work, making self-felted ephemera for the camping enthusiast who, with an askance view of the days of yore, understands the value of concrete action. Over and Over the Hills is therefore a critical response to nostalgia as much as it evokes an imagined, repeated past to expose the limits of rationality. With a tent, hat, backpack, and exquisitely rendered coat, this wanderer has hiked into the darkness and come out winking.

Rebecca Brewer is a fourth year student of visual arts at Emily Carr Institute. Her interest in recurrent mystic subcultures and romantic (even sublime) constructions of nature stems from self-reflexive criticism as much as a genuine desire to see and do things differently and better. A high school hippie by her own admission, she has since become only hip.