Bruce Kitts – Red Lodge Clay Center

Bruce KittsMissoula, Montana

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2018, 2022

Bruce Kitts received his BFA from SIU at Carbondale in 2009 that followed up with a two year residency at Terra Incognito in Oak Park, Illinois. He received his MA from EIU in 2012. As a member of the Illinois Artisan Program, his work has been displayed in various galleries and museums throughout Illinois. In 2015, Bruce left for the west coast where he was a studio tech and artist in resident at the Mendocino Art Center. Since then, his work has been displayed in several nationally juried exhibitions. In 2017, Bruce moved to Helena, MT to work as a studio potter and currently resides in Missoula, MT where he is a co-founder of Wildfire Ceramic Studio.

Hand made objects play a fascinating role in our human lives and relationships. They define us as much as we define them. One’s possessions can be just as representative as another’s creations. Through presentation or by passing down, these objects become a form of language. I’m intrigued by the lineage of dialogue created by a maker’s choice of medium, purpose, process of creation, and the interpretation and utilization of the viewer or recipient. I find clay the most responsive material to initiate this dialogue. Functional pottery is particularly interesting as it serves, commemorates, and even influences our rituals and daily practice. I often view texture in ceramics like brush strokes in a painting as they both lend to the history of the making process; connecting you with the artist. I’ll never forget the awe inspiring moment at a museum and seeing brushstrokes in paintings from hundreds of years ago. It was nothing short of transcendent for me, feeling as though I was right there with the artist. Reflecting on this moment, my latest series of work focuses heavily on brush work and mark making in a calculated, yet intuitive and gestural nature. Thick slips slapped onto textured surfaces, glazes quickly brushed on top of others; all used with an array of brushes, combined with the markings of the atmospheric firing to create compositions in the round. The result is a rather chaotic surface, reminiscent of our current state of the world. Gold lustered “buttons” are placed with in the compositions to create a strong focal point of meditation amongst the chaos.