In each painting of the Hand and Glass series, an unseen figure tilts a vessel towards a lone plant. Derived from Bruder's earlier When God Created Man She was Only Joking (2015), these works present a moment of creation. Perhaps by the hand of a deity, a barren surface receives life force in its purest form – a mythic substance powerful enough to defy the asphyxiation of logic, fertile enough to sustain life in the most inhospitable of places. The plant that springs forth is unidentifiable, though it exists somewhere between a cactus and a fern, and thrives somewhere between the light and the darkness of this interstitial world.
In the subtly variegated compositions and palettes, the works in the series read as variations of a divine experiment, playing out without intervention. A second series of Forest City paintings depicts an overcast sky filled with clouds or smoke. This menacing firmament recalls the artist’s earlier Flat Earth works, in which vaporous forms spring forth from scenic valleys.