Brie Ruais in Broken Open: An exploration of the body as a resource

Museum of New Art, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Closed September 25, 2022
The works in this exhibition are messy. The perfection of formalism is nowhere in sight. From Bianca Beck’s rough hewn papier-mâché surfaces, to Joy Curtis’s tattered fabrics, to Jennie Jiuen Lee’s pours of glaze across her ceramic busts, to Brie Ruais’s expansive stretched clay, and to Aparna Sarkar’s scratched canvas, the markers of expression are ever present. The works are steeped in each artist's personal history as themes of gender, identity, and sexuality serve as guideposts from which they excavate. The body is messy as well; to inhabit one is a complex proposition made even more complex by the systems that try to define it. As the title implies, each artist has broken open their own systems of being. They are exploring the uncharted possibility of what it means to possess a physical form solely unto themselves.
 Each of Ruais’s sculptures begins with 130 pounds of clay—the artist’s body weight—that are then shaped by and embedded with Ruais’s movements: spreading out, pushing, tearing open, and scraping away. In exploring themes of embodiment, Ruais’s work further reflects upon the relationship between an individual's psychical interior world and the corporeal exterior world.
September 1, 2022