Alberta based artist Katie Marie Bruce creates a series of prints communicating the language of her emotions through her physical body.
Bruce's series "Exhaustion" depicts the silhouette of four women, each overcome with the weight of the labour she carries. The figures measure a mere one inch square, yet pack an emotional punch so powerful it fills the frame and beyond. Their modest size reinforces their impact, allowing them to appear small, overlooked, and underestimated. This offers a reflection of the experiences of many women who endure emotional and domestic labour. The physicality of the printmaking process adds to the visual language of each work, the mark of embossment demonstrates the physical weight of this exhaustion that has been pressed permanently into the page. This subtle shape around each figure also suggests a safe space or a refuge, a place these women have found to allow themselves to rest. Bruce brings her powerful meaning further by placing a small moment of pink over the heart of each subject, giving the hopeful impression that these beings, while tired and seemingly defeated, are still full of life and love.
Katie Marie Bruce offers us an opportunity to pause and look closely at our own experiences, and through this work we see a reflection of our own lives. These self portraits visually demonstrate the biological impact of emotional labour and the weight of exhaustion, reminding us to take care of our own well being as much as we care for the needs of others.