Chris Bruch’s art is one of process: patterns of making that, repeated, create a reality. The work is at once deeply personal and elegantly formal. “Mutterhulse” is a made-up word for a personal experience. The piece a tribute to his German mother, once a musician but reduced in later life to sitting in a chair staring out the window, unsure of her own identity. Hunkered down around itself, it features a spiral-shaped top, a place for energy to go after it leaves the shell of the body.
Author Jen Graves describes Bruch’s sculpture as labor-intensive: “The skill distracts you from the uselessness and queerness of the objects. Then suddenly, the distraction is over, and you start to deal with the objects: what they resemble, their scale, their color, the way they can’t be photographed.” The thin, scalloped sheets of aluminum he used for Mutterhulse are typical of ones found wrapping fast food drive-bys, offices on used car lots, churches in strip malls that are here today, gone tomorrow. It is important, he says, that there is nothing in the sculpture that does not need to be there, that the space that the work takes up is justified by its own presence.
Bruch received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ceramics/sculpture from the University of Kansas, Lawrence (1980), and his Master of Arts degree in video (1985) and Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture (1986) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He serves on the public art advisory committee in Seattle, and he has received public sculpture commissions in Seattle and Portland, including a commissioned temporary installation for the Seattle Art Museum in 1991. His work can be found in national and international public art collections.