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Kathy Bruce: Ritual Renewal
by Ellen Pearlman

Kathy Bruce explores bamboo and other non-invasive organic materials, building site-specific works that have implied ritualistic connections to the land and that investigate climate, ecosystems, and plant and animal life. She also uses the figure and, more specifically, the archetypal female form. For too long, in both painting and sculpture, men have projected their inner dialogues and psychological tensions onto the female body. Bruce has helped to reclaim the female form from this male stereotyping, transforming it from a passive slate into a spirit of possibility. The idea of woman as harbinger of growth, fecundity, ritual, nature, and renewal can be seen as impossibly quaint and sentimental—or quite radical. Most contemporary art arises from an urban, technological impulse, and examples that deal with themes of nature, especially nature and ritual, tend to be lumped together as primitive, outsider, ecological, or 1970s-derived earth art.

Composting Vessel, 2008.
Bamboo, raffia, recycled wood, grass, and live shrub, 18 x 5 x 40 ft.


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