October 2016

by Amy Eskind, Art Collector, Writer, Mother, Adventuress

Artist Bio: Bruce Peebles, Sculptor

Nashville sculptor Bruce Peebles (1963–2016) worked primarily in wood, metal, and fiberglass to create beautiful, organic sculptures of fluid lines and movement. After a trip to Zimbabwe, Africa, to meet the great sculptural artists that live there, Peebles declared, “Africa is the key to everything as far as my sculpture is concerned.” Later in his career Peebles delved into electronic art and created animated sculptures from painted balsa wood. You may read more about Peebles in a June 2010 article online at www.nashvillearts.com.

Nashville sculptor Bruce Peebles donated her to the Swan Ball auction, back in 2003. As soon as I spotted her I knew she was something else. Carved meticulously and miraculously from a single piece of wood, her gracefulness and confidence were alluring to my younger self. My husband and I placed a bid and won.

Bruce personally delivered the piece. Truth be told, not much thought went into her placement. Mostly, she needed to be kept safely out of the traffic patterns of my children, which relegated her to life as a wallflower in the living room. She could be viewed only from the front, rendering complete obstruction of both the masterful curve of her hair as well as her right arm, outstretched to rest on her buttock in a way that says everything her joyous left arm can’t. It was easy to overlook her entirely as her honey color blended in with the woodwork behind her. Art imitates life and life imitates art. While she stood there almost invisible, I began to feel that way too. My marriage dissolved.


Amy Eskind. Photography by Jerry Atnip

Amy Eskind; Photograph by Jerry AtnipWhen I sold that house in 2011 and temporarily put my furniture in storage, I worried that she would not survive it. In a panic, I called Bruce for advice. He drove right over with a truck to save her, remarking that she was one of his favorites.

A year later, I bought a new house. All of my furnishings were now being carted through the front door. Leah Sohr, a designer with an otherworldly ability to create roomscapes, looked over each table and mirror and bench and knickknack and expertly assigned them new missions. In walked Bruce with my sculpture, and Leah instantly called it: front hall.

And there she stands, in a place where her curvaceous form can be viewed from all angles, where she supremely and most rightfully reigns over the house. She is on her own, enjoying her 360-degree freedom and relishing the moment. If Bruce originally gave her a name, I don’t know it. No matter—she is me.


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