What Will Happen if I Quit Trying

Peace, too peaceful? Not really.
Quiet, too quiet? No.
Sad? a little.

Acceptance? Yes acceptance.
I am accepting of who I am. I know that sounds cliche, but we have cliches for a reason.  That is what I SHOULD, (did you just say should?) damn right I did. I SHOULD HAVE ACCEPTED WHO I AM YEARS AGO. But alas I had no idea I could. Besides I had no idea who is was. I was too busy placing expectations on myself.

Expectation to achieve
Expectation to earn
Expectation to succeed
Expectation to be worldly
Expectation to be smart
Expectation to be a role model
Expectation to be a leader
Expectation to be professional
Expectation to have nice things
Expectation to have a beautiful home
Expectation to have well designed, decorated, beautiful home

Damn, that’s a lot of expectations. No wonder I have tummy troubles and smoked. Yes, I was a smoker. I quit in 2013. Since then I have been forced to find a new way to live life. I did not go easily into that good night, more like being dragged, not kicking and screaming, but like a poor pup being dragged into the vet. I got depressed and super sensitive.

I was angry
I was sad
I was hungry
I was thirsty
I was lonely
I was getting fat
I found my anxiety

I kept going with the same expectations. After all I owned them. Only now I did not have my coping device. Only now I had only me and I got no where for a long time. I kept creating art, it was my therapy. Or so I thought.

Art was a place I could go to hide. Immerse myself. Avoid myself.
I created lots of work. So much art.

I have to show that art
I have to sell that art
I have to appreciate that art
I have to get a grant so I can show that work
I have to get representation so I can sell that work
I have to get lots of galleries so I can sell that work

I can not let all these have to’s interfere with what the work means to me. I can do that, I am a professional.

What if I don’t want to be a professional?
What if I want a simple life?
What if I didn’t really care about selling?
What if recognition didn’t really matter that much?
What if I let go?
What if I said enough already?

What would happen if I said that out loud? Made it public. Would it be real? Would I be making a commitment to quitting? What exactly am I quitting?
Am I quitting making art?
Am I withdrawing from the culture?
Is this what I want? Not to be an artist? Can an artist quit being an artist?

FOOTNOTE: I wrote this 6 months ago but only published it now because I have more to add. It’s all good. I’ll write about what happened in my next post.

MATERIAL MEMORIES

A Special Gallery Exhibition Featuring
Internationally Acclaimed Contemporary Artists,
Kim Henigman Bruce & Naoko Morisawa
March 2 – April 2, 2017
Opening First Thursday, March 2, 2017 6:00-8:30 pm

MATERIAL MEMORIES explores personal and cultural memory, metaphor, and mission, through work created in simple, ancient materials – beeswax (Kim Henigman Bruce) and wood or paper (Naoko Morisawa) – made relevant to a contemporary era. Both artists draw from their personal lives and their respective cultural history – Henigman Bruce is from Calgary, Canada and Morisawa, raised in Yokohama, Japan, currently resides in Seattle, WA.
Both women are highly skilled, independent artists from two distinctively different cultures and backgrounds, who share a common practice of art as a transcendent force for consciousness, social progress, and our common humanity.

HENIGMAN BRUCE – JUSTICE, Encaustic, fabric, book pages & string, 16.5″h x 4.25″w x 4.5″d

Kim Henigman Bruce grew up in Calgary, Alberta, where she currently resides and received her arts education at The Alberta College of Art and Design and The University of Calgary. Her mother’s love of books was an early influence, and they’ve played a critical role as the key unifying object in her sculpture’s narratives. Books became a metaphor for knowledge; a message she’s honed well over many years as a professional artist with numerous international exhibitions.

Her work speaks predominantly to girls and women; often from cultures in which women have no choices other than those pre-determined by the culture’s tradition. “Knowledge is power and knowledge is empowering. There’s choice. When there is no alternative there is no choice.”

Ms. Bruce has elected not to attend the show’s opening in protest of this administration’s still-pending travel ban. The gallery stands with our artist and supports her decision without reservation. Her statement can be found here: http://henigmanbruce.com/finding-my-conviction/

NAOKO MORISAWA ENERGY VII – ENLIVENED, UNITED (2017) 40″ x 30″ Mosaic Collage – Oil Stained Wood & Paper, Acrylic, Oil, Washi on Board

Naoko Morisawa, born in Tokyo, raised in Yokohama, Japan, and now residing in Seattle, received her BA in Design and Ceramics from Tama Art University, Tokyo. Her wood mosaics are contemporary updates of the traditional art of Japanese wood mosaic, yosegi, popular in Japan’s Edo Period (1615-1868). Drawing inspiration from this ancient cultural history, her hand-crafted mosaics – meticulously composed of hand cut wood and/or paper, and stained in brilliant, complimentary hues – reflect the spirit of Edo Japonism; Noh and Kabuki theatre; ukiyo-e; the traditions of Kimono design; and reverence for nature; as well as more personal, whimsical subjects. Morisawa, who also taught art in Tokyo and Yokohama, has created several public, site-specific installations throughout the Puget Sound region, has been featured in numerous juried national and international gallery exhibitions, won dozens of awards and honors, and was selected for The Dublin Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Dublin, Ireland. Immediately following the opening of “Material Memories”, she leaves for Texas where she’s included in the Women’s Invitational Exhibition 2017, at The Eisemann Center of Performing and Visual Arts in Richardson, TX. (www.naokomorisawa.com)


FREDERICK HOLMES AND COMPANY
GALLERY OF MODERN & CONTEMPORARY ART
309 OCCIDENTAL AVENUE SOUTH
SEATTLE, WA 98104
(206) 682-0166
WWW.FREDERICKHOLMESANDCOMPANY.COM

Finding My Conviction (Canadian artist refuses to attend her show in USA)

In light of current political events in the USA that are deeply affecting the entire world, I have the following statement regarding my upcoming show in the USA.

From my artist statement…
My work is full of visual puns, double entendre, symbolism and satire. It references the dichotomy of my early life expectations to conform to a traditional woman’s role, when in fact, reality for me, was the need to be self-sufficient and support myself as an entrepreneur and business owner. These contradictions allow me to expose my private self through veiled metaphor creating objects significant beyond function. The underlying message – the essence of my work – speaks to the roles and rights of girls and women.

Keeper of the Faith, Encaustic, copper pot scrubber, glass vials, book pages & string, 23″h x 4.25″w x 5″d

My work has meaning. It’s about choice. It’s about girls, and boys too, but mostly girls, who, due to tradition or religion, don’t get to choose. They are married off as soon as they hit puberty and often left to fend for themselves and their children because of war, strife or circumstance.

Gender inequality exists. It exists in Canada, the USA, throughout the western world, but is most prevalent in developing nations. I want to bring awareness to the importance of education and the role it has in shaping future generations. If girls are educated and given choices, they can influence the world.


I’d like to share a few stats with you. Plan Canada and its subsidiary Because I am a Girl states that…

1. For every extra year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 10 to 20%
2. A girl in the developing world receiving 7 years of education marries 4 years later on average and has fewer, yet healthier, children
3. If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths

Knowledge is power and knowledge is empowering. There’s choice. When there is no alternative there is no choice.


Henigman Bruce – Justice, Encaustic, fabric, book pages & string, 16.5″h x 4.25″w x 4.5″d

Why am I telling you all this? Because I am part of a 2 person show opening at Frederick Holmes in Seattle on March 3. It means I get to take my white privilege and cross the border into the United States from Canada. I have a Canadian passport, so I should be able to travel unhindered.

EXCEPT, how in good conscious can I travel unhindered when the rights the very people my work speaks to are being detained and turned back?

An incident on Feb 4 had a Canadian woman turned away from U.S. border after questions about religion. She was turned back because she’s muslim. We were told that if you had a Canadian passport there would be no problem crossing the border. They forgot to say you also had to be white, and show no outward signs of your ethnicity.

I could go to the opening and speak about education for girls to a handful of people who already know how important it is. Or I can take this stand and just say NO, it’s not right.

I know, little ol’ me, who is going to notice. Simple. I am going to notice and it is me that I have to live with.

I am very grateful for the support from Frederick Holmes on my boycott of my own show. He works tirelessly for his artists and will be my standin.

Here is Fred’s statement:

 “As her gallery dealer the last few years, and one who has come to know Kim Bruce’s passionate dedication to the mission of her work – as well as an American citizen concerned about the marginalization of people by gender, faith, or race – I support her decision absolutely and without reservation. Her presence at the opening will be missed but her work will speak for her.” – Frederick R. Holmes

As individuals, as artists, as Canadians, as citizens of the world, we must find our conviction.

My conviction says NO, we must stand united.

Further reading:

Canadian woman en route to Vermont spa denied entry to U.S., told she needs immigrant visa

22 refugees entered Manitoba near Emerson border over the weekend

5th Canadian reports being denied entry to U.S. after questions about Moroccan roots, Muslim faith

Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers

EXHIBITION IMAGES


 

All my Ancestors were Immigrants.

All my ancestors were immigrants. In fact I would not exist if they had not immigrated. My grandmother would not have met my grandfather here in Canada if she stay in the Ukraine. 

Simple as that.

Kim Henigman Bruce - Merged
“Merged”  now resides in the home of a judge.

I have always been proud that my mom’s mom (featured in this portrait) came to Canada alone when she was 26 and could not speak any english.

I often wondered why at 26 she was not married and what if anything happened that made her make such a journey. But we did not ask those questions growing up, it just wasn’t done.

My grandfather on my mom’s side immigrated from the Ukraine as well. They met in Drumheller where my mom and uncle were born and raised. It’s one of the reasons I was happy to have had the show “How I Got Here” at the Western GM Drumheller Gallery. I think my grandma would have been proud.

I think of this image of my grandmother today because I used her passport photo to create the piece. This piece was purchased a couple of years ago by a judge, which I find ironic considering the current ban on immigration put in place by the Trump administration in the USA. 

Transformation: An Exhibition of Altered Books

Exhibition: September 14 – November 27

Meet the Curators, Judy Daley and Supria Karmakar – September 18th, 2:30 p.m.

Kim Bruce - It Takes a Village
It Takes a Village, Encaustic, false hair, silk ribbon, hand made clay beads on a book, 11″h x 15″w x 2″d overall

When is a book not a book? When it’s been transformed into a one-of-a kind work of art! This fascinating artform dates to medieval times and artists of today are reinventing it to create thought-provoking works of book sculpture. This exhibition features over 50 artists from Canada, the US and Europe. Transformation has been generously supported by Dale and Dave Cox.

Helson Gallery, Halton Hills Cultural Centre
9 Church Street, Halton Hills, ON. L7G 2A3

The Helson Gallery is open Weds – Sun: 1 – 5 pm; Thurs 1 – 8:30 pm

For further information please contact: Judy Daley, Helson Gallery Curator 905.877.7915 x 2536

 

installation-kim-bruce-halton-hills-1 installation-kim-bruce-halton-hills-2

This is Not a Book – Chapter 2

henigman-bruce-this-is-not-a-book-san-jose

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
Focus Gallery
560 South First Street San Jose, CA
Jun. 5 – Sep. 11, 2016

In collaboration with Seager Gray Gallery, the ICA will present This is Not a Book: Chapter 2 in the Focus Gallery.

For the past decade, Seager Gray has taken the lead in presenting art related to books and recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of their now widely acclaimed Art of the Book exhibition, which takes place each May at the Mill Valley gallery. The ICA’s presentation culls from that rich history and continues where the ICA’s 2001 exhibition This is Not A Book left off. The current exhibition is curated by Donna Seager.

The typical anatomy of a printed book is text and/or images on paper, bounded by glue or sewn together. On the interior pages, authors write stories and information about places, memories, facts, and images, and on the exterior, a cover details the title of the book, name of the author, and often offers a teaser summary. In This is Not a Book: Chapter 2, 28 artists expand on the very essence of a book. The ubiquitous objects on the shelves of our homes or libraries have been astonishingly altered into wondrous sculptures. One might still discern the materiality of the pages and the characteristics of the covers. However, they are now transfigured into inventive forms, from intimate, finely carved objects to large-scale installations to glowing cubes. With curiosity, whit, and play, artists in This is Not a Book: Chapter 2 create sculptural objects that question our assumptions about book design, the future of the book, and our relationship to these ordinary, but important and cherished publications.

View all artist images

henigman-bruce-this-is-not-a-book-catalog
My page from the catalog.

View the catalog

The Art of the Book

kim-henigman-bruce-art-of-the-book-seager-gray

The Art of the Book

Seager Gray Gallery presents the 11th annual Art of the Book.

An exhibition of book-related material including fine press, hand made and altered
books featuring new works by gallery favorites as well as some exciting discoveries.

May 3 – June 5, 2016
Reception for the artists:
Saturday, May 14, 5:30 – 7:30pm

Artists included in the exhibition are Jody Alexander, Islam Aly, Alice Austin, Ken Botnick, Sarah Brown, Kim Henigman Bruce, Inge Bruggeman, Valérie Buess, Julie Chen, Marie Dern and Danielle Giudici Wallis, Alisa Golden, Andrew Hayes, Helen Hiebert, Meg Hitchcock, Charles Hobson, Lisa Kokin, Jacqueline Rush Lee, Emma Lloyd, Suzanne Long, Sharon McCartney, Emily Payne, Maria Porges, Kazuko Watanabe, Beata Wehr and Barbara Wildenboer.

Kim Henigman Bruce, what’s with the name change?

kim-henigman-bruceSince 1979 I have been known as Kim Bruce. But in 1979 we didn’t have the internet and Facebook, Twitter and all those other social media sites that have made the world seem very small indeed.

I always thought Kim was a unique name. There was only one other Kim in my class at grade school and she was a Kimberly. Me, I am a straight up KIM. Short for nothing and sweet to boot.

I have gone by Kim my entire life but my real first name is Sharon (there you have it, my secrets out). Why, you ask, did my parents not name me Kim Sharon rather than Sharon Kim? Because Sharon Kim rolls off the tongue better than Kim Sharon. Huh? Yup. The only problem, after almost 60 years on this planet, is that I am still waiting for someone to call Sharon Kim out loud. No one ever has. I do get called Sharon officially by the gov, banks and other institutions because Sharon is my legal first name and appears on my official docs that way. Thanks for a really cool second name though, mom and dad.

So that’s the goods on my first name. Now for the real reason I’m writing.

For those of you that know me, the noticeable addition to my name is Henigman. Which is my maiden name and it’s not really all that common. It is Austrian in origin. I’m not really sure what it means but I imagine that my ancestors were hen and egg men. Makes sense, right?

Bruce on the other hand is right up there with the Smith and Jones’s. Well maybe not but there’s enough of us. It’s also weird having two first names. I very rarely remember having to spell Henigman but Bruce, very single time. I think because it’s too obvious and people think they heard it wrong. Then there’s the reaction of some when I answer the phone and they say they thought I was male and were expecting an Asian accent. It has happened, more than once. Kim is a very common last name in Korea and they put their last name first.

When you Google Kim Bruce, the search engine returns are all about Kim Kardashian, Bruce Willis, Bruce Jenner and Bruce Lee. I come up too, somewhere. If you add “artist” or “sculpture” that gets me to the top.

So those are all the strange things about my name but the main reason for the change is that there are, to my knowledge, 4 other Kim Bruce’s that are also artists.

There’s are couple of potters, an equine artist and an abstract artist. Kimberley Bruce the abstract artist is also a client of mine at Artbiz.ca.

I thought it prudent to add the Henigman to help identify myself. It is becoming more important now, since I have more gallery representation and am getting into a few more shows, a couple of them solo.

As an artist my name is my brand, but more than that it’s what I will be remember by. At Artbiz I give pointers on how to select a good domain name and the first question I ask is “How do you want to be remembered by art history?” Well, if I ever get lucky enough to be written about in art history, I would really like it if my name was unique only to me. So I am taking my own advise and adding the Henigman. Kim Henigman Bruce has a ring to it don’t you think?

I am not going to bother changing it legally. From what I understand, as long as I use it consistently it will be acknowledged. Of course anything legal will still be Sharon Bruce.

Over the next few months I will be transitioning this site over to HenigmanBruce.com. But I will always keep KimBruce.ca because it has good rankings (sorry to disappoint you other Kim Bruce’s). Oh, BTW, KimBruce.com is a male realtor in the USA.