KESHA BRUCE | The Washington Post

12 Oct
KESHA BRUCE, Memory of Matala, 2022, 60″x48″, mixed media textile collage work on canvas

Kesha Bruce

Review by Mark Jenkins

September 30, 2022

The title of Kesha Bruce’s show at Morton Fine Art, “Take Me to the Water,” is an homage to Nina Simone’s performance of that gospel song. Bruce identifies with water, “a force that follows its own paths and forms its own shapes,” according to the gallery’s note. Ironically, the collagist-painter lives in one of the nation’s driest states, Arizona, where she is director of artist programs for the state’s arts commission.

Bruce reports that her palette has gotten sunnier since she moved from the Midwest to the Southwest, yet landscape is vestigial in her work. The artist instinctively assembles scraps of wrinkled fabric that are painted — and sometimes overpainted — to craft patchworks that may suggest but never literally depict the natural world.

A leaflike form dominates the top of “La Sirene,” and the mostly green “Like Florida Water” has a cool rainforest vibe. But for every “Memory of Matala,” whose blue blocks above tan ones evoke sky overhead earth, there are several pictures whose intricate, quilt-like compositions appear purely abstract. The real subject of this artwork is transformation: cutting, painting and pasting pieces of secondhand textiles into arrangements that are unexpected and distinctively Bruce’s own.

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE

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