Monthly Archives: January 2011

Entering into the art of Wes Bruce is a transportation.

Some visitors feel they are venturing into realms of forgotten memory, others like surveyors into the secret life of another. When I am exploring the art of Wes Bruce I feel as if I have returned to the world of my childhood mind.

I think that every child is a born explorer. I find that it is an inspiration to work with children as they navigate this very new thing called life. When I am exploring one of Bruce’s forts I am reminded that, just like a young child, as G.K. Chesterton writes, “We do not need fairy tales: we need only tales. A child of seven is excited by being told that, ‘Tommy opened the door and saw a dragon’. But a child of three is excited by being told that, ‘Tommy opened the door’. Boys like romantic tales but babies like realistic tales – because they find them romantic”. I am free to remember that true life, TRUTH itself, is romantic. Children, like miniature scientists, are forever prying into everything, and this is what we are encouraged to do in the art of Wes Bruce. To children every passage is a secret passage, every carpet a magic carpet, every animal a fabulous monster, every walk a South Sea Voyage of discovery.

We are reminded, within these simple structures built with  wooden crates and filled with someones treasure and another someones trash, of the gift of wonder. Without wonder the spiritual life atrophies. Within the fort we are also given the time to remember how to admire. As a modern writer says, “To admire something is like a stream of fresh water, flowing over the soul’s surface. Children are so happy, because for them, there is so much to wonder at. The deep solemnity of their untarnished eyes is the solemnity of wonderment. Woe to the man who has nothing to wonder at!”

Sail on, dear explorer, “whose exterior semblance doth belie thy soul’s immensity.” Sail on in your wonderful barque with its five senses- and its intrepid captain- the intellect.’ (E.M. Standing, in the book Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, 1984, 103-5).

Wes’s work has been featured in several galleries across Southern California, including his most recent project, at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. “Leveled: An Interactive Experiment in Art” that exhibited a fort built in honor of a woman named Miss Augustine Greane. A wooden panel adjacent to the entrance of the artwork describes her as “one of the 20th century’s most curious, unfathomable, unexplainable, and wonder filled individuals.”

Through the entry hole a person must crawl, shuffling over weathered carpets, tinkering past toy pianos, shelves of dinosaur figurines, gathered straw and sheep wool, aged photographs, and shelved mosaics of empty glass jars. These nooks, crannies, hidden staircases and second stories are her life and her loves, Miss Augustine’s history incarnate.

“This is a summary of everyone, everything you’ve ever experienced, and the memories you acquire overtime,” said Bruce.

“We make maps of lands we’ve yet to love” and “Déjà vu grew like a garden in her fertile mind.”

A friend of many years that still surprises me with wonder and curiosity. Read more here:

More insight (Wes’s own tale about Ms. Augustine Greane)

More Wes Bruce Art


Born: 1972
Lives and works: San Antonio, TX

Likes: (the Big Topic) Death, mourning, The Lazarus Species and Super Centinarians, and pursuing science through the arts
Says things like:
“We commit our lives to something that will perish (LOVE)”,
“Nature affects critical thinking”,
“Be an imaginary naturalist, monitoring the very edge of existence”,
“Lose a language, loose a way of thinking about the world”,
“Truth is stranger than fiction”, and
“Ego tu sum, tu es ego; unanimi sumus”
(I am you, you are I; we are of one soul/mind/spirit).

You might say he is a “Material-ist Poet.

Materials and Mediums: glacially released 50,000-year old Wooly Mammoth, 19th c. braided hair flowers of various lovers intertwined with glacially released Wooly Mammoth hair, carved ivory and bone, boscote, ribbon, hair braid made of stretched and curled audio tape recordings of the last known Union Civil War soldier’s voice and the last known Confederate Civil War widow’s voice, homemade paper (pulp made from sweetheart letters written by soldiers who did not return from various wars, sepia, bone dust from every bone in the body), lace and fabric from mourning dresses, hair flower braided by a Civil War widow, colored paper, silk, milk paint, ink stained ash, glass, typeset

Mr Robleto broke my heart when he spoke about the Huia Bird at MCA San Diego.
The Huia Bird was last seen in 1907 in New Zealand. The male and females adapt to and for each other for feeding habits: the male has a hard beak to make the hole in a tree trunk, the female has a long beak to reach in and get the food out of the hole. These birds were monogamous, mates for life. Only chiefs could wear their tail feather. Unfortunately when these feathers became popular in Europe. They were hunted by by imitating the cry of the male bird for his female companion. The Huia birds died out to fashion.
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