Jane Bruce is an independent artist and educator based in New York City. She teaches and exhibits internationally and her dual careers of artist and maker have taken her around the world, from Europe to the USA, to Australia and back again. Bruce works in a range of techniques to create objects and mini installations, primarily through the processes of kiln forming, blowing and coldworking glass.
Born in England, Bruce received a Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art, London, and undertook further postgraduate study at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred. She has been the recipient of a range of fellowships, visiting artist awards and grants, including fellowships from the Creative Glass Center of America and the New York Foundation for the Arts; artist-in-residence at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, visiting artist at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, and a New Work Grant from the Australia Council. Exhibiting internationally, her work can be found in many major museum collections worldwide, including those of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; European Museum of Modern Glass (Europaisches Museum fur Modernes Glas, Kunstsammlunger der Veste Coburg) Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Corning Museum of Glass, New York; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; and The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia.
As an educator, Bruce served as senior lecturer in the Glass Workshop of the Australian National University Canberra School of Art (1994 - 2001) and was Head of Workshop (2001-2003). She was artistic and technical director for Northlands Creative Glass, Caithness, Scotland (2003-2007) and continues to organize annual symposiums there for British and international artists and students. She has also taught workshops in the US at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, New York, Bullseye Glass Co., in Portland, Oregon, and Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington.
Bruce’s Vase, Bottle, Bowl series furthered the artist’s exploration of the vessel, which is deeply rooted in the history of the decorative or applied arts. Interested in the essential object, she reduces the vessel to its central and fundamental parts and attributes. She says: “If I were to pick an adjective to describe this work, it might be formal. As well as abstracting the vessel and presenting its elemental nature, it is also important as to how composition, color, light, proportion, and the juxtaposition of positive and negative space work within the object, and how a group of objects form a resolved statement.”
On the other hand, Bruce’s Houseseries explored a more personal concern related to landscape and loss in a particular place. In what became known as The Clearances, (1760-1830), the Highlands of Scotland were emptied and became a wilderness. Even today, with many ruined crofts still dotting the Caithness landscape, there continues to be a strong sense of loss and desolation in that place. “Inspired by this history and what remains, the current house forms seek to evoke thoughts of loss, the past and what might have been.”
Bruce is working on two related series currently categorized as Indefinite Objectsand Deep Space Panels, both addressing deep and never-ending space. As the viewer moves around the works they seem to change and reconfigure as the viewer’s viewpoint changes. These new series will be on view in an exhibition titled Constructs: The Thing About Space Is That It Just Keeps Going, at River House Arts, Toledo, Ohio, from October 4 – November 16, 2019. Although these new works contain very little glass, and the Deep Space panels contain none at all, they are about space and light, which Bruce considers to be inherent qualities of glass.
From November 5 through December 10, 2019, Bruce will teach her workshop, Color, Light, Glass: An Introduction to Kilnformed Glass at UrbanGlass. In June 2020, the artist will travel to North Lands Creative Glass for an international artist symposium that will look at issues of home and place and which she founded and has coordinated since 2010.