Artist’s Corollary Statement:
While enormous terra cottas are possible, clay’s nature relates best to small forms and to a great sensitivity in the handling of the surfaces. These qualities attracted me as I’m most interested in expressing intimate themes such as serenity, acceptance and the gentle communion that can exist between two people. These subjects lend themselves to small, intimate spaces – bedrooms and hallways and other quiet nooks.
There is a need for the Les/Bi/Gay individuals to have their own imagery for purposes of validation. I’m deeply concerned with what has been historically a lack of positive images of such intimacy. Gay youth has been marginalized just as much in the visual arts as they are in "pop culture." Their reality has not reflected in either. And they desperately need to be validated in their orientation. One of those essential ways is in imagery of their sexuality. Certainly, popular culture is saturated with sex. But until very recently, it has all relentlessly been heterosexual in nature. Queer youth are marginalized visually just as they are by the lack of writing/fiction for such young people in the classroom. I have tried to address this lack in my sculptures.
There is a need for the "Male Construct" to evolve both in the straight AND the gay/bisexual milieu. The definition of what is "female" has radically changed these last twenty years through the efforts of feminism but not the definition of what is "male." As the works indicate, my focus for over twenty years has been the lyrical male –crafting. a new definition of what it is to be male. That has been the main thrust of my art since 1980. Certainly, this entails a spiritual dimension of intimacy and bonding between participants. That’s very different from the purely sexual which has been central to so much material directed both at, and by, gays. But the sexual act is but one aspect of sexuality. One needs the intimacy and communion between individuals for a healthy psyche.
Kelly Teahen wrote: I believe in a day when characteristics and people associated with the feminine in our society – be that women, the Earth, passion, homosexuality – will be valued in spiritual thought as the cerebral, the celibate, the male (London Free Press 26 June 1993: E6). This pivotal quote led me to a deeper awareness of that which I wanted to celebrate: the intuitive vs. the factual, the passionate vs. the controlled, the emotional vs. the cerebral/intellectual, the nurturing vs. the dominant, the sensual vs. the sexual and the intimate vs. the impersonal. These are traits I have found often in gay/bisexual men and must be part of a larger definition of that which is "male."
Every thing is done to achieve a timeless quality. Poses are static and of a type the subject would not change quickly. I utilize closed eyes as they are more meditative and suggestive of an inner vision of the soul.
For me, the wall is a blank canvas. My reliefs emerge from this ambiguous space as a painted image does from a canvas. Like a cropped photograph, I find a fragment of a whole much more powerfully suggestive than the whole itself. The observer must become a participant in the work. They must physically complete it in their mind's eye. And it is this very incompleteness of the form which permits a personal, relevant interpretation . . . and that is the creative act.
R. Bruce Flowers