Artist Veronica Bruce ‘brings it back’
Updated: November 12, 2012 1:29AM
Last week, when artist Veronica Bruce was hanging her works in the Hinsdale Public Library’s Quiet Reading Room, she marveled at how much the library had changed.
She hadn’t visited since before the 2008 renovation, which created space that has acted as a public village art gallery showcasing local and homegrown art. Bruce is one of those homegrown artists who is delighted to come back and display her work as part of that tradition.
Thus the title of Bruce’s show, Bring It All Back, is both appropriate and evocative, she said. Bruce said growing up in Hinsdale, she always figured herself an artist. “I can’t not create things.”
Bruce went to Hinsdale Central High School and then on to the University of Illinois where she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree. She taught art at the high school level for six years and then last year she earned her master of fine arts degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
While the house she grew up and began painting in has since been torn down, she still has lots of connections to this area. Her brother Tom Bruce and his family live in Clarendon Hills, and she couldn’t help but bump into friends last week while buying coffee in downtown Hinsdale.
Bruce has always worked in a variety of media, though she has chosen to display paintings and what she calls photo paintings at the Bring It All Back exhibit for practical reasons. Her sculptures, she said, would be hard to show in the space and some are fragile. The dozen works on display deserve to be looked at from several feet away as well as examined closely, especially in the case of the photo paintings/collages because it is not always easy to discern what is painted and what is photographed.
“All of my work is primarily about the process,” Bruce said.
She sometimes records her work with photographs and then incorporates those photographs into a work. In “In the Corner,” a photograph on matte paper with oil paint and white photo paper, the eye is first drawn because of the pleasing blue and grey tones. From farther away, it’s not clear what the work is, but up close it is a photograph of a sculpture Bruce made out of architectural glass and cement propped on a window ledge in her studio. She painted over portions of the photo and stuck white photo paper atop the work which evokes a number of different reactions in the viewer, and that is what she is after.
In person, Bruce is the same — energetic and interested. She will give guest lectures at Hinsdale Central later this month in conjunction with her art show, and she will probably tell the art students about the commitment and hard work that goes into being a professional artist. Bruce actively pursues residency programs to fund her works. This year, she had a residency at threewalls in Chicago, which supports emerging visual artists, as well as one at Bundanon Trust in New South Wales, Australia. Next May she will go to Nida Lithuania for a residency, which has special significance because her father is Lithuanian, yet another example of bringing it all back for Bruce.
Bring It All Back will be displayed through Nov. 30 at the library, 20 E. Maple St. Visit www.veronicabruceart.com. ~.