“Ryan Brewer provides amalgamations that address slippages of object function while questioning issues including labor, class, commodification, and time. Viewers of these works are asked to pause and consider craftsmanship in a comprehensive way, ingesting investigations of passive and active labor along with notions of commodity and market. Brewer’s installation […] is as equally impossible to grasp with a cursory glance as it is to consider placing in one’s living room; the need for the viewer to return multiple times to complete an object experience that is engineered to react to both itself and its environment contradicts the paradigm of the autonomous art object, its amorphous nature pointing to other issues (such as gender) where classification begins to fail.”
-Rhiannon Aarons, excerpt from Liminal Subjects, Queer Objects: Questioning as a Statement, 2018
Ryan Brewer is an interdisciplinary artist who works in a wide range of practices including sculpture, performance, multimedia, writing, and social practice. Brewer’s current work employs a wide field of media to challenge notions of gender, identity, and power by proposing alternative queer mythologies. Brewer’s art practice seeks to re-envision the role of queer identity in the 21st century; to explore (or complicate) relationships between desire, shame, oppression, and freedom.
Brewer’s early work, founded in traditional sculpture, consisted of performance installations featuring an apparatus made of industrial materials for ambiguous use. These works required rigorous physical training in various circus arts, including aerial fabrics, pole dancing, and other gymnastics. Extreme physical exertion and exercises in defiance of physical laws occasionally lead to the destruction of the sculpture, with systemic (and transcendental) failure as consistent themes.
The transition from sculpture to performance work used the “self” as a primary material. Relying heavily upon Jungian Archetypes, Brewer’s work concerned itself with the study, creation, and embodiment of personae. These identities were explored through various collaborations between Brewer and AA Bronson from 2011-2012. Their body of work consists of performance photography documenting rituals enacted publicly in the Meat Rack, a maze of sex paths that adjoins the two gay communities of Fire Island, NY. Many came here to spend their last days during the era of AIDS; the works honor that haunted history and have since been exhibited internationally.
From 2013-2017, Brewer further explored personae (as psychological, cultural, and artistic phenomena) through the creation of a performance-as-commerce project Bebe Daddy Services. As the owner/operator, Brewer worked under the pseudonym Bebe Daddy. The venture arose out of a carpenter-in-the-nude service that initially investigated sex work and gender stereotypes while turning profit. The project has since developed into a design+build firm and a clothing line Bebe Daddy Apparel, with sales benefiting local non-profits. In 2015, the Bebe Daddy persona was absorbed into a gay-themed home renovation TV show pilot. (Logo TV, unaired)
Brewer lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.