Bruce Anderson

About the Artist
The issues an artist deals with are … a function of his/her time, place, and experience. My work speaks metaphorically about the society I am part of. – Bruce Anderson, Artist’s Statement, Making Art In Saskatchewan: Five Approaches, Saskatchewan Craft Council Exhibition, MacKenzie Art Gallery, 1983-84.

Bruce Anderson was born in Beaverlodge, Alberta in 1951, but has spent most of his life in Saskatchewan. He attended school in Swift Current, where the big sky and the sweeping  horizon lineA level line where water or land seems to end and the sky begins. Vanishing points are usually located on this line.  (artlex.com)  of southwestern Saskatchewan influenced his view of the world, and still does.

Anderson received his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Saskatchewan in 1974, followed by a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Regina in 1984.

Although he has lived in Regina for many years, and is the  Collections ManagerA person managing the collection of an art gallery.  for the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the influence of the short-grass prairie and the stories of the Old West can be seen in many of Anderson’s works. In his statement for the 1994 exhibition New Artists/New Works he wrote:

The prevalence of the  mythA traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society. (Artlex.com)  of cowboys as the last free men continuing to pursue the goals that made the ‘new world’ so attractive is still very much with us… this  mythA traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society. (Artlex.com)  is incomplete at best (as any romantic image is narrowly focused), and ignores the realities of development… the subjugation of land and nature have contributed to the destruction of life and the environmental problems we are currently experiencing. (Anderson, 1994)

Anderson draws on both his  domesticRemaining much at home; devoted to home duties or pleasures; as, a domestic man or woman.  Living in or near human habitations; domesticated; tame as distinguished from wild; as, domestic animals.  Made in one's own house, nation, or country; as, domestic manufactures, wines, etc.  One who lives in the family of an other, as hired household assistant; a house servant. Articles of home manufacture, especially cotton goods.  (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  environment and the larger social environment for his work. He expresses his concern about the abuses caused by unbridled development, and the aesthetic, psychological and social issues associated with increasing urbanization in his (two-dimensional) paintings and his (three-dimensional)  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  sculptures.

Cowboy Anderson’s paintings, for example, demonstrate that he has observed the western landscape closely, along with the human and animal subjects that populate it. At first glance the paintings present a typical “Old West” scene, with cowboys on horseback situated in the landscape. On closer examination we are pulled up short when we see the discarded candy bar wrappers, chip bags, and other debris of our throwaway society in the foreground. Anderson juxtaposes the  mythA traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society. (Artlex.com)  of the cowboy with the reality of modern life. Past meets present, and home on the range is no longer so romantic and homey.

To see some images of the “western landscape” Anderson references, see Saskatchewan Pictures and CoolScapes – Courtney Milne’s best landscapes.


Art Career Has Been Fun
Making Sparks
Post-Modern Approach to Art
Swift Current Big Sky
The Art of Craft
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning