Entwined Roots: Gary Brewer & Aline Mare
“The entwined roots of Indian rubber trees form bridges that–unlike steel structures–grow more durable with time.” ~Paul Salopek, National Geographic, November 2019
Written by Betty Ann Brown
Gary Brewer and Aline Mare are two artists who met in 1995, married in 1997, and continue to live and work together. Through their creative symbiosis of shared goals, similarly committed practices, and ongoing dialogue, they have–like the connected roots of the Ficus elastica — grown stronger over the years.
Both Brewer and Mare paint: he with oil on canvas, she with mixed media on board. Both source their images in nature: He often deploys recognizable depictions of flowers, seeds, and lichens; she usually engages more abstracted, more suggestive images that resemble lacy moss or misty clouds or, perhaps, piles of crumbled pigments.
Brewer’s Celestial Seeds (2020) is a large (48″ x 36″) canvas based on the primary colors–red, blue, and yellow–with contrasting purple, golden brown, and silver. The large, intensely hued biomorphic forms seem to float through space. Their contours are blurry so that they appear to be suspended behind several densely textured forms hovering in the foreground. Brewer based the background shapes of his composition on photographs of dark matter taken from Hubble deep space telescope imaging. (Dark matter is invisible. The Hubble scientists calculated the shapes from gravitational distortions of space.) The foreground shapes are derived from microscopic images of pollen grains. (Which, yes, can look strangely like the now too-familiar image of the Corona virus.) Brewer is painting nothing less than the beginnings of life zooming through the immensity of the universe.
Mare’s Green Seeded (2020) is smaller in scale at 24″ x 32″. It employs a limited palette, mostly yellow and green, and vacillates between a dense forest seen from above, miniature ivory-toned plants, and a shelf of pale, dry, cracked mud. Mare combines a painted background with scanned images of the fluffy seeds of the kapok tree, and overhead NASA photographs. She completes the work with a second “overlay” of paint. The shifting contrast of scale and perspective leaves the viewer in poetic ambivalence, compelling an active visual engagement…as do the scale shifts in Brewer’s larger compositions.
The exhibition is installed with Brewer’s larger works interspersed with Mare’s somewhat smaller ones, so viewers can “read” the aesthetic dialogue on the walls. Counterpoints of color, form, and texture produce an almost musical syncopation, with emphatic chords and softer tones. The result is a rhythmic, rhapsodic testimony to nature’s infinite grace.
The works of both Brewer and Mare are unabashedly beautiful. The colors are glorious, the textures sumptuous. As a group, they stand as powerful testimony to both the strength of the intertwined visions of the two artists and the enduring elegance of the cosmos they portray. These works delight the eye. And they invite us to see similar delight in the world around us.