Alumna Brie Ruais in Solo Show at Albertz Benda Gallery

BY Catherine Fisher, December 22, 2021

Alumna Brie Ruais ‘11 is featured in a solo show at Albertz Benda GallerySome Things I Know About Being in a Body. This work is on view from December 9, 2021 to January 22, 2022. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition at this gallery. 


In the show, Ruais explores the body through abstract sculpture. Each piece begins with 130 pounds of clay, chosen to match the artist’s body weight. The sculptures move outwards, expanding in ways that suggest the infinite. Clay is formed through “spreading out, pushing, tearing open, and scraping away” according to the press release.


Ruais has been working with this idea for ten years and its provenance is the idea that “the individual’s experience of the world is centered in the body.” 


This show is also indebted to a sense of place. In August 2021, the artist went to a New Mexican clay quarry “to harvest wild clay for the first time.” She did so with only her hands. In this manner, she filled a trunk with hundreds of pounds of clay. Then, “she set up her drone camera, descended into the pond of clay at the base of the mine, and developed a set of performative gestures relating to the place.”  


One cannot escape the sense of the void when examining Ruais’s work. Each sculpture bears at its center an incontrovertible hole. This speaks to our experience of self — while everything emanates from our body’s center we are also often opaque to ourselves, and this show does not shy away from that difficulty. 

Ruais was born in Southern California and is now based in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA in Studio Art from New York University. Her work has been exhibited at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, Night Gallery in Los Angeles, California, and Cooper Cole Gallery in Toronto, Canada among other locations.


Brie Ruais '11, Letting the Fire In, 130lbs, Pit fired stoneware, hardware, 2021

Brie Ruais '11, Black and Blue Expanding, 130lbs, Pigmented and glazed stoneware, hardware, 2021