Robin Brewer and Sinéad Cahill Exhibition and Opening Reception

By Laura S. Tue, September 15, 2015

The Print and Picture Collection is pleased to announce a new exhibition in the Print and Picture Collection Hallway Gallery. The exhibition, Robin Brewer and Sinéad Cahill, features found photography by Robin Brewer and stone lithography on fabric by Sinéad Cahill and is on view from September 14 through October 30, 2015.

Robin Brewer is an artist who works with mixed media, sculpture, and photography. Her work often gives a nod to historic photographic equipment and processes. As an educator, Robin teaches art at Garnet Valley High School. She is also the president-elect for the Pennsylvania Art Education Association. Robin received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Hawai’i-Manoa and a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia. She has shown her work in New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and California.

My recent work with found glass negatives has given me the opportunity to bring new life to images once lost. The negatives appear to date between 1900-1905 and give us a glimpse of one person’s travels. Since coming across the negatives, I have tried to piece together a portrait of the photographer and his or her life. At first I was dismayed that the glass negatives were in poor condition with yellow, water-damaged edges.  But when I saw the beautiful blue and black borders that the decay created when digitally transformed into a positive, I was pleased with the result.

Using found images always presents a dilemma. On one hand, I have not taken the images but merely borrowed them from another person and another time. On the other, I become an editor and storyteller, selecting the images and media to combine into a new idea. I have chosen to work with photo transfer on wood to bring my own hand into the process. The wood also provides a texture that is reminiscent of historical processes.

When we look at images of the past, they can become a universal representation of our own family history. We are reminded of our own mortality and the poignant urgency of living in the present.

Sinéad Cahill is a Philadelphia-based artist who uses stone lithography and fabric to construct pillowy sculptures, badges, and quilts. Cahill earned her degree at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and recently completed a post-graduate apprenticeship at the Fabric Workshop and Museum here in Philadelphia. She teaches stone lithography at Fleisher Art Memorial and is a recent recipient of a John Anson Kittredge Foundation Grant. 

Over the past year my prints have migrated from Rives BFKwhich has long been their traditional breeding groundto nest on cotton, linens, and canvas. From these printed yards I have been stretching, stuffing, embroidering, and pinning lithographic prints into quilts, pillows, badges, and sculptures. Fabric is pliable in my hands, it is limp until I mold a shape in my mind and set about cutting, crimping, and stuffing until it has billowed out before me. I am attracted to creating my own edges, forming a footprint and building out my own frontier into its manifest completion. 

I sift through thoughts, up to my waist in porous remembrances and shapes of forget, slogging through and squishing thoughts in my hand. I test their pliability and scribble it down, or toss it aside.  From these pieces of memory, I make drawings. With these images a personal lexicon emerges, breaking down experiences in order to describe and transcribe experience. This process of distillation and reassembling of parts within the process of printing, stitching, and shaping mirrors the source of imagery from which I draw my work. Memory, as a collection of disparate sensations, experiences, and emotions, drives my desire to create and manifests itself as bits of drawings, fabrics, and patterns. A print on paper is complete, but memories often are not. A print on fabric is never framed out, never a complete drawing, merely a step in a line of thought. 

This exhibition is part of PIX Open Call 2015, a call for entries for juried two-person exhibitions, which is made possible through the supporters of the Print & Picture Collection and the Robert F. Looney Fund. Contact 215-686-5405 or erefpix@freelibrary.org for more information.

Join us Saturday, September 19 for the opening reception of Robin Brewer and Sinéad Cahill, in the Print and Picture Collection. This will be a joint reception in conjunction with Swap: Four Years of Exchange at Second State Press, the new exhibition in the Second Floor West Gallery. Meet the artists and discuss their work. Free. 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Print & Picture Collection Hallway Gallery
Parkway Central Library, Second Floor
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Hallway Gallery Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.,  Sat 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.,  Sun 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Robin Brewer, Glass Negative #965, image transfer on wood, 2015
Robin Brewer, Glass Negative #965, image transfer on wood, 2015
Sinéad Cahill, The Limner’s Dream, 3 color screenprint, batting and handquilting, 2015
Sinéad Cahill, The Limner’s Dream, 3 color screenprint, batting and handquilting, 2015
The Print and Picture Collection Hallway Gallery is located on the Second Floor of Parkway Central Library.
The Print and Picture Collection Hallway Gallery is located on the Second Floor of Parkway Central Library.

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