Sebastiaan Bremer

Sebastiaan Bremer’s artistic career spans across disciplines and media, but he has become particularly renowned for his ability to transform pre-existing images into ornate, dreamlike tableaux through a careful process of enlargement and intricate hand painting that results in completely unique works.

The use of found imagery as a basis to explore ideas about time and memory has long been central to Bremer’s practice, and in the late 1990s he began experimenting with drawing directly onto the surface of photographs. Initially working with snapshots of family members or familiar places, Bremer developed his signature technique of printing the pictures in an enlarged format—well beyond conventional dimensions—and then altering and embellishing the underlying scene with delicate patterns of dots and strokes using India ink and photographic dye, or applying splashes of paint.

Beautiful Sky, 2021 | Ink and acrylic on digital archival pigment print | 76,2 x 101,6 cm,

Sebastiaan Bremer

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Landscape Series

“I drew these trees on fields of color. They look like out of focus landscapes, which I made by photographing collages -made out of ColorAid paper- out of focus. I started making these collages in 1998 for a series of paintings, when I was still quite starry eyed and looked forward to new horizons. Now in this time, I figured it is time to bring this idea back to life. The colorfield landscapes I made from remembered landscapes from my childhood, and I like how they provide a horizon for us at this strange time. The trees are what I see around my neighborhood here in Brooklyn these days as I run around the track- they are good reminders of how time can be experienced differently, and how this all will pass. It seems that in this period of uncertainty our future is taken away- we can’t plan on a future like we used to, everything seems in limbo and we aren’t as free to count on predictably – which was an idee fixe anyway but still..

This project can be a renewed attempt to create this future, this horizon, overseen by these living forms with long lifespans, the trees that surround and oversee us.  We need solace and horizons with color, and at this time this is meaningful, perhaps more now than at other times.”

— Sebastiaan Bremer

On Country Roads and Fields, 2021 | Ink and acrylic on digital archival pigment print | 101,6 x 76,2 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

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Produced Memories, 2020 | Ink and acrylic on digital archival pigment print | 102 x 76 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

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Starry Night, 2020 | Ink and acrylic on digital archival pigment print | 28 x 36 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

Smoky Mountains, 2021 | Ink and acrylic on archival digital inkjet print | 91,4 x 68,6 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

On Golden Pond, 2020 | Ink and acrylic on archival digital pigment print | 76,2 x 101,6 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

Deep Purple, 2020 | Ink and acrylic on digital archival pigment print | 36 x 28 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

Veronica - The Hundred Guilder Print, 2018 | 3D, Ink, acrylic and collage on silver gelatin print | 60 x 40 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

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Veronica – The Hundred Guilder Print

On a portrait photograph of his mother from the early seventies, Sebastiaan Bremer drew and painted a braille like surface covering her face. This intervention allows the artist to come closer to the past and break through the surface of the photograph and bring the subject to this side of the mirror. The portrait is a self portrait of sorts, and a depiction of a solemn mood, encompassed in melancholy. A collaged intervention adding parts of a Rembrandt’s etching “The Hundred Guilder Print” bring the history of the sitter as well as her name to the fore- the holy Veronica with her veil which recorded the face of Jesus – to her catholic background. It is all there. The scraps of the etching are floating in the air, as if blown off the desk, bringing the work from the past to the present, from the back to the foreground.

Whether starting from the work of an iconic artist or revisiting his own family albums, as in his series Veronica, 2018, silver gelatin prints Sebastiaan Bremer produced from long forgotten negatives of candid shots his father took of his mother in her mid thirties, Bremer’s choice of visual documents is rooted in his biography. Hints of his native Holland permeate his work, from his appreciation of the way light falls across a room reminiscent of a Vermeer interior to the exquisitely painted addition of a pointillist feather or flowers to a contemporary photograph that transports the viewer to the world of Dutch Old Master paintings. In engaging with images of others, he is constantly investigating his own memories and thoughts, weaving a dialogue between the underlying photograph and the marks he uses to transform but never completely obscure it, thus creating a physical representation of the confluence of our inner and outer lives.

Small Self portrait 6, 2021 | Ink on archival paper | 50,8 x 40,6 cm

Sebastiaan Bremer

Available

About the artist

Sebastiaan Bremer studied at the Vrije Academie, The Hague and Skowhegan School of Art and Sculpture, Maine. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been the subject of three major catalogs: Monkey Brain (2003), Avila (2006), and To Joy (2015), and has been exhibited in such venues as the Tate Gallery, London; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; The Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; and the Aldrich Museum, Connecticut. Bremer’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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ABOUT Sebastiaan Bremer

Sebastiaan Bremer’s artistic career spans across disciplines and media, but he has become particularly renowned for his ability to transform pre-existing images into ornate, dreamlike tableaux through a careful process of enlargement and intricate hand painting that results in completely unique works.

The use of found imagery as a basis to explore ideas about time and memory has long been central to Bremer’s practice, and in the late 1990s he began experimenting with drawing directly onto the surface of photographs. Initially working with snapshots of family members or familiar places, Bremer developed his signature technique of printing the pictures in an enlarged format—well beyond conventional dimensions—and then altering and embellishing the underlying scene with delicate patterns of dots and strokes using India ink and photographic dye, or applying splashes of paint.

Over the past decades, Bremer has used this approach to create a progression of distinct bodies of work, expanding the scope of his source materials from purely personal moments to an array of images that have captured his imagination or held significance in his life. These range from adaptations of Rembrandt etchings to Brassaï’s photographs of Picasso’s studio and Bill Brandt’s series of close-up images of his famous subjects’ eyes, as well as the vintage lithographic flower prints used in Bremer’s Bloemen series.

Whether starting from the work of an iconic artist or revisiting his own family albums, as in his series Veronica, 2018, silver gelatin prints he produced from long forgotten negatives of candid shots his father took of his mother in her mid thirties, Bremer’s choice of visual documents is rooted in his biography. Hints of his native Holland permeate his work, from his appreciation of the way light falls across a room reminiscent of a Vermeer interior to the exquisitely painted addition of a pointillist feather or flowers to a contemporary photograph that transports the viewer to the world of Dutch Old Master paintings. In engaging with images of others, he is constantly investigating his own memories and thoughts, weaving a dialogue between the underlying photograph and the marks he uses to transform but never completely obscure it, thus creating a physical representation of the confluence of our inner and outer lives.

Sebastiaan Bremer studied at the Vrije Academie, The Hague and Skowhegan School of Art and Sculpture, Maine. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been the subject of three major catalogs: Monkey Brain (2003), Avila (2006), and To Joy (2015), and has been exhibited in such venues as the Tate Gallery, London; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; The Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; and the Aldrich Museum, Connecticut. Bremer’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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