Tapadas, Saints and other Heroines
A #MeToo Visual Art Series by Kathy Bruce
Kathy Bruce is an environmental artist based in NYC. Her work explores women and mythology within the context of the natural environment.
She received an M.F.A from Yale University School of Art in sculpture and a certificate from The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Ms. Bruce is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including a Pollock-Krasner
Foundation Fellowship, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Individual
Artist Grant, 2 Fulbright-Hayes scholar grants to Peru and a Ford Foundation Grant for sculpture.
Her work is normally characterized by large environmental installations of women that incorporate live plant material in or around the structures built in situ within Nature. However, when not working on large-scale projects, her
smaller, private investigations take the form of collages exploring the more intimate relationship between the female form and plant life, both physiological and emotional. What interests her most is the way in which the female body/anatomy corresponds to structures in nature, plants, trees, and the landscape. This can manifest itself either internally or externally in the form of patterns, designs, or metaphorical context; the subtle yet enchanting similarities between the inner life of plants and trees and humans. What are women if not plants and trees, themselves made-up of organic material?
Anthropomorphic imagery is often explored through depictions of the animal nature of humans and vice-versa but botany is seldom explored as the subject matter for examining the relationships between women and plants. Exceptions to this are the horticultural etchings of JJ Granville upon which this series of collages, “Tapadas, Saints and other Heroines” have been inspired. This French nineteenth century illustrator much admired by the Surrealists, personified flowers in his volume Les Fleurs Animées – 1947 that is a mix of the satirical and poetic images of flowers.