Cris Bruch's reverence for the archetypal life of a farmer originates in the lives of his grandparents and parents, two generations of dryland farmers in eastern Colorado during the first half of the twentieth century. Though Bruch grew up without experiencing this life directly; it is his perspective of idealization and romanticism that is evoked in his new show, Others Who Were Here, currently on exhibit at Frye Art Museum.
Burch’s perspective on the life of a farmer is one of admiration, respect and curiosity. He recalls, “As a child, I was mystified, impressed and a little intimidated by how men seemed to know what all the things in the barns and sheds were for and what they were called. They knew how to use them, how to fix them; how to handle animals, machines, and tools.”
In a piece entitled Agra, Dresden, Firstview, Gem, Genoa, Leoti, Leoville, Limon, Weldona, Bruch sculpted an aerial view of grain elevators, cloaked in pieces of iridescent white fabric, placed within a darkened gallery room with a stark spotlight shining down on each. The piece speaks to the astonishing capability of one family to own and work a vast amount of land; grain elevators acting as beacons for the various communities.
Images courtesy of Frye Art Museum
Contemplation of scale within the landscapes of agriculture is a connective theme within the exhibition. In the adjacent room, two works coincide, Pent and Eidolon. Pent encourages visitors to walk through as if they are livestock being herded through a wooden pen. At the back of the room Eidolon, created from aluminum composite, reflects a pale orange hue onto the white gallery wall forcing the bottom of the sculpture to cast a dark shadow onto the ground. The sculpture mimics a beautiful paused sunrise or sunset as observed over the vast landscapes of a farming community.
Words by Katharine Wimett