University of Ottawa, MFA (2019-2021), MA Contemporary Art Theory (2022), Ph.D. Feminist and Gender Studies (candidate as of Fall 2022)
Upcoming Publications: “Buzz Kill and Eye Candy: Normative Motherhood Disrupted and Matricritics in Courtney Kessel and Chloé Clevenger’s In Balance With” in Normative Motherhood by Demeter Press, Fall 2022.
Natalie Bruvels’ art practice and theoretical research engage the intersection of Motherhood Studies, representations of mothers in visual culture, and contemporary art practices. Bruvels holds a BSc Biology, an MFA Visual Arts, and an MA Contemporary Art Theory from the University of Ottawa. She is the recipient of the Charles Gagnon and Michel Goulet prizes. Bruvels is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Feminist and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Ottawa. She is a member of the Cat Attack Collective and is represented by Studio Sixty-Six.
I situate my art practice and collaborations in a postmaternal context, a term defined by Julie Stephens that elaborates social anxieties around the concept and praxis of care. This paper traces aspects of my artistic journey, as well as my son’s artistic journey leading up to and during my time in the MFA program at the University of Ottawa, from 2019-2021, during the pandemic. As a way to deal with the lack of childcare infrastructure, my son accompanied me to the studio, where we make paintings together and in tandem, as well as large sculptural pieces made of Dollar Store plastic tablecloths. When we show our work together, we call ourselves the Cat Attack Collective. Our collaborations serve as a re-imagining of masculinist archetypes of Madonna and Child/mother and child that moves away from idealizing the form and focuses on the labour and bonding, the development of inter-subjectivities, while giving voice to both participants. It critically engages the politics of care and play exacerbated during a pandemic. The pandemic has revealed how the economy exploits domestic labour. Unable to secure childcare for the majority of the past two years, Tomson has often accompanied me to the studio and has made his own works of art which are indeed his own creative expressions but also serve as indices of the care I provide.