Plant Dreaming Deep

COOPER COLE is pleased to present Plant Dreaming Deep, a solo exhibition of the work of Brie Ruais. This is the artist’s third exhibition at the gallery.

Plant Dreaming Deep features a series of new sculptural and video works that meditate on the transformational effect of “putting down roots.” In this context, we cast the 130lbs of clay that Ruais uses for each sculpture as a plot of land mapped by her own body, and the encircled locations, torn holes, and peeled back surfaces as metaphorical openings for seeds/growth.  

Employing gestures like spreading, pushing, scraping and peeling back clay, Ruais’ large-scale circular wall works address dualisms between absence and presence, internal and external, trauma and healing. Reflecting this, the exterior of Scraping the Surface, 130lbs is heavily glazed, marked, and tread upon, while the peeled back swathes are nude, or unglazed, pink and terracotta clay, recalling a raw bodily interior.

The land is imbedded in Ruais’ work both conceptually and materially. In addition to the foundational role of clay in her practice, pieces from the land—such as dirt or sand—are often visible on the surfaces of the sculptures. Many of the circular works contain holes, or imprints of the artist’s hands pulling clay out from the centre, referencing the act of digging and planting seeds in the earth for restoration and healing.

The monumental work Intertwining Bodies, Roots, Hair (three times 130lbs) inquires into the interdependency between bodies like water, plants, and animals, as something that is ongoing and reciprocal. Ruais’ practice has a history of negotiating the relationship between bodies and land, this is reflected in her use of her own body weight as the measurement for the amount of clay that constitutes each piece. 

The title of the exhibition Plant Dreaming Deep is borrowed from a novel of the same name by May Sarton, published in 1968. In it, Sarton speaks about how creating a home can nurture growth in art, community, and the natural world. This text is pertinent to Ruais, who recently settled in Santa Fe on a piece of unceded, overgrazed land, with plans to build, plant, and nurture in the ways she explores in her works. The video piece in the exhibition, Plant Dreaming Deep depicts the artist on her land making an earthwork out of clay embedded with native seeds.  Sarton describes that her “…house [felt] like a ship.  I did not know where the house would take me, but I knew it was snug and beautiful, and I knew that its passenger was both inward and outward bound.” Ruais’ work is not only about contact, but also the relationship between our emotional interiority, and our corporeal exteriority.

Brie Ruais (b. 1982, Southern California, California, USA) is an artist working in ceramic sculpture, installation, and performance video. Ruais received her MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2011 and her BFA from New York University in 2004. She has exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including Museum of New Art, Portsmouth (2022); Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, Houston (2021); Kunstraum Potsdam, Potsdam (2021); Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles (2020); Albertz Benda Gallery, New York (2021); The Anderson Collection, Stanford University, Stanford, CA (2020); Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY (2019); Dallas Museum of Art, Texas (2019); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (2019); Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Cooper Cole, Toronto (2018); American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington DC (2017); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2015); Nicole Klagsbrun, New York (2013); among others. Ruais’ work is currently featured in the exhibition “Strange Clay” at the Hayward Gallery, London, UK. Ruais lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Artworks

Brie Ruais

Locating Home, 130 lbs

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Locating Home, 130 lbs, 2022

Glazed stoneware, pigmentes stonewar, hardware

B.R0044

82" X 81" X 1"
208.28cm X 205.74cm X 2.54cm

Brie Ruais

Mapping the Land by Hand, 130 lbs

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Mapping The Land By Hand, 130 lbs, 2022

Glazed stoneware, pigmentes stonewar, hardware

B.R0041

82" X 80" X 4.5"
208.28cm X 203.2cm X 11.43cm

Brie Ruais

Scratching the Surface, 130 lbs

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Scratching the Surface, 130 lbs, 2022

Glazed stoneware, pigmentes stonewar, hardware

B.R0043

79.5" X 83" X 4"
201.93cm X 210.82cm X 10.16cm

Brie Ruais

Intertwining Bodies, Roots, Hair (130 lbs times 3)

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Intertwining Bodies, Roots, Hair (130 lbs times 3), 2022

Glazed stoneware, pigmentes stonewar, hardware

B.R0040

162" X 54"
411.48cm X 137.16cm

Brie Ruais

Plant Dreaming Deep

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Plant Dreaming Deep, 2022

Video

Edition of 3, 2 AP

17 minutes

B.R0045