Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
– child’s prayer that first appeared in 1737 in “The New England Primer,” America’s first school textbook.
“Now I Lay Me” is also the title of an Earnest Hemingway short story about Nick Adams who spends a sleepless night in shell shock trying to hold onto his soul after World War I.
When the image of a figure reclining among ladders came to artist Charlie Brouwer, and he assembled a prototype of his vision, he was immediately reminded of the children’s prayer “Now I lay me…” It in turn became the theme of his latest body of work and influenced the creation of several wash pencil and acrylic paint drawings in black, white, and various shades of grey.
The principal feature of Now I Lay Me…, Brouwer’s first exhibition at whitespace gallery, is the installation piece that includes approximately twenty white-stained, old orchard ladders rising towards the ceiling with a life-size, reclining wooden figure suspended among them.
The second component is the series of drawings that, like all of his work, act as an extension of his life – explorations of his past, present, and future. He makes art, so he can discover where he has been, what he thinks of the present, and where he sees himself going. Some of the subjects of his drawings include his childhood bedroom, the factory where Brouwer’s grandfather worked, his grandfather’s garden, the church Brouwer attended while growing up, and various components of a life in the country. These works draw on memories from various periods in his life, thus helping him work his way from his past to the present.
Charlie Brouwer is a prolific visual artist based in Willis, Virginia who has shown his work in more that 206 exhibitions since 1975, including 41 solo shows. He has exhibited in venues across the United States and abroad in countries that include Australia, Hungary and Poland. He has participated regularly in the “Rise up…” events around the country. This includes the 2011 “Rise up Atlanta” public art display funded by Flux Projects. In addition to a BA in English and a K-12 Education Certificate from Grand Valley State University, Charlie Brouwer also holds a MA in Painting and MFA in Sculpture from Western Michigan University.
Brouwer will give an artist talk at the gallery on Sept. 1 at 4 p.m.
Through Sept. 1.
814 Edgewood Avenue