The paintings of Between Men depict scenes from Pride celebrations on Gay Beach in SanFrancisco. As a queer painter, Weinreb approaches this environment with both insider and outsider perspective. This positionality provides Weinreb with curious insight, which she uses to decode intimate moments of friendship, camaraderie, solidarity and sex; presenting them in complex, highly-saturated paintings that emphasize the performative nature of the event and the experience of being a participant within it.
The paintings in this body of work typically feature an animated green grass ground and aviewpoint that tilts towards a faded sky. The grass is always more vivid, as Weinreb seeks to highlight the position of an observer looking up. The concept of the observer in these scenes calls to mind the voyeuristic intimacy of Manet and Degas, with their depictions of sex workers, ballerinas and other subcultures on the fringes of society. Following in this Modernist tradition, Weinreb depicts scenes of queer leisure while maintaining the role of omniscient narrator, whose presence we are reminded of via the use of shadows and foreshortened limbs reaching from just outside the frame.
In the paintings of Between Men, the observer is granted a generous view of bodies, butts, thighs and backs which are realized in technicolor. The gleaming, shiny backturned bodies exalts the experience of the observer and transforms feelings of exclusion into something more important — that of insight. One finds moments of joyous freedom, but also, tenderness and vulnerability in figures that seek the type of protection found in numbers. Community is represented by tapestry-like networks of bodies, where the sum of the whole is greater than its individual parts.
Gaze as a form of recognition or communication has traditionally been a crucial element within the queer community — forming an essential part of identifying others of a similar mind. In these paintings, Weinreb captures cruise-like glances between men alongside her own inquisitive gaze, giving viewers a second-hand seat to this triangulation of sight. Through these various forms of gaze-play, Weinreb challenges the notion that men painting women can be the only acceptable cross-gender gaze, and links the role of the observer to deeper understandings of community, belonging and identity.
Brea Weinreb, she/her (b. 1994, Long Island, New York) is an American painter. Her current series utilizes imagery from Pride celebrations on Gay Beach in San Francisco to examine themes of community, belonging, and public performances of gender and sexuality. Brea holds a Dual B.A. in Art Practice and English from the University of California, Berkeley. She was named a 2020-2021 Alternative Candidate for a Fulbright Arts Research grant to study painting in Berlin, Germany. Her work has been exhibited at Anat Ebgi Gallery, Southern Exposure, Root Division, and more. Upcoming shows include a solo and group show with Taymour Grahne Projects (London, UK), and group exhibitions with Steven Zevitas Gallery (Boston, MA) and Kristin Hjellegjerde Schloss Görne (Berlin, Germany). Brea’s work has been published in New American Paintings and ArtMaze Magazine, and is included in the Green Family Art Foundation’s collection.