Brie Ruais at Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto

What follows is a fictional conversation between the artist and White Sands Ranger.

Follow the trail markers; look carefully for the next trail marker before continuing. If you cannot see the next marker because of blowing sand or if a marker is down, turn back. 

Do not rely on your footprints to return to your car as they may be erased by the wind in a matter of minutes.

Landscape Painting with 130lbs of Clay (Dark Sky Law), 130lbs seems particularly generated by the silent movement of the body at night.
It’s like someone feeling their way around a familiar room in the dark.

How do the manual processes used in your work increase the formal and conceptual content? 
Working manually allows for me and my work to occupy the same moment; to develop meaning through my relationship with material.

How do you select the material you work with?
I gravitate towards formless materials. Form then arises from a collaborative compromise of movement and material limitation. Clay has a relationship to the earth and the body, elegantly expressed by the term “mother earth”.

We are surrounded by an active missile range. From time to time, debris from missile tests fall onto the dunes. Don’t touch any strange objects. 
Paper pulp has a connection to both the natural and social worlds. It’s ubiquity and ease of use has opened up new freedoms.

What are these freedoms?
The circumstances through which I fell in love with pulp created the freedom, and now the two are intertwined. I was recently in a remote corner of the Nevada desert at the Montello Foundation, entirely alone and disconnected. In search of a raw material for sculpting, I made use of my paper trash and kitchen blender. I worked without witness, without expectation, without the shade that casts doubts. I worked under the sun.

A form that resonates through the paper pulp pieces and clay works like Scraped Body Void, 130lbs, is the open vessel, passage, or hole.
I’m continually fascinated by holes – by how their presence represents an absence. They’re like a death; representing a life that continues to resonate even after death, both absent and present at the same time. I think of holes as fluid spaces, where we move, always in a state of becoming, always in transit, always lost, always seeking, always passing through.

DON’T RELY ON GPS TO FIND YOUR WAY
The military testing nearby can disrupt the satellite signals for hours.

The parts are so orderly, screwed onto the wall quite visibly with screws.
Civilization’s approach to tackling the “expansive” is usually by breaking it down with a grid. Technology goes square when faced with a critical mass of people and of land.

Due to the explosive smacking sounds, one realizes the enormous physical effort you are putting into your work.
I’m trying to put the laboring, traumatized, vulnerable body into the work; trying to move beyond verbal language.

Wandering can endanger your life and make finding you more difficult. If you become lost, sit at the top of a dune.

Attempting to Hold the Landscape by Brie Ruais
Cooper Cole, Toronto
Through February 24, 2018