Frye Art Museum is pleased to present Others Who Were Here, an exhibition of work by exceptional Seattle artist Cris Bruch. Inspired by his investigation into his family’s roots as dryland farmers in eastern Colorado during the first half of the twentieth century, Others Who Were Here addresses the durability of hope in the face of obsolescence and decay.
“I am moved by people who keep trying to make things better for themselves and others, by those who seek to maintain and improve, to beautify and invent,” said Bruch. “I think about the coexistence of past and present, the difference between hope and optimism, and the profound effects of enormous expanses of sky and land.”
In Others Who Were Here, Bruch extends his investigation of formal aesthetics and material properties with narratives both personal and historical. The large and small-scale sculptures in the exhibition are informed by the artist’s observations of the Great Plains, both in the region’s present form and in its past state as recalled through the stories and letters of his parents, grandparents, and others.
Physical evidence of the past coexists with the present. Iconic grain elevators and spavined buildings dot the landscape. The physicality and straightforward construction of the works in Others Who Were Here recall these structures and express emotional, practical, and poetic truths about the Plains and its inhabitants.
“There is a wheel of adversity, scarcity, perseverance, humility, gratitude, and generosity,” said Bruch. Others Who Were Here celebrates these qualities by transforming utilitarian objects and architecture to honor lives shaped by the Plains.
Bruch is a recipient of the 2014 James W. Ray Venture Project Award. Funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation through the Frye Art Museum | Artist Trust Consortium, the award supports and advances the creative work of outstanding artists and culminates in an exhibition at Frye Art Museum. Bruch’s work was previously seen at the Frye in Mw [Moment Magnitude], 2012–13.
“Cris Bruch is a deeply thoughtful artist,” said Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, director of the Frye and curator of the exhibition. “An inspiration to many emerging Seattle artists, he is an artist’s artist, widely admired and respected by his own community for the integrity of his vision and the consistent excellence of his artistic practice spanning three decades. The Frye Art Museum is proud to present this new, and most personal, body of work.”
Cris Bruch: Others Who Were Here is a Raynier Institute & Foundation exhibition organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker. The exhibition is funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation through the Frye Art Museum | Artist Trust Consortium, the Frye Foundation, and Frye Art Museum members and donors. Seasonal support is provided by Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and ArtsFund.