5 Art Stars You Need to Know: Sarah Braman 

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2012 Art Stars: Sarah Braman
2012 Art Stars: Sarah Braman 2012 Art Stars: Sarah Braman

2012 Art Stars: Sarah Braman

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Is there an artist/exhibition/artwork that's had an especially significant impact on your development either recently or at the beginning of your career?
In school, in the late 80s, it was Ana Mendieta, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Rothko that made me crazy.

I went to the Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris in the early 90s and that blew my mind and eventually turned me on to Odilon Redon.

Saw the Matta-Clark exhibit in Madrid in 1992 which was thrilling.

Then, in 1994, Ellsworth Kelly at the Guggenheim—awesome. Best show ever for that space.

In 1995, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts in Philly, I fell in love with John Chamberlain’s work; I have to say his last show in 2011 was so, so good. I remember seeing that show and feeling like all the works were exactly like they should be, and this sounds trite but it was just so obvious how well he knew his material. Also that year in Philly, I saw Tony Smith’s "We Lost" at UPenn.

In 1998, I saw my first show of Rita Ackermann at Andrea Rosen, and it stuck with me in a way that is hard to describe. I left that show feeling like someone had shared a secret with me, or given me an invisible gift.

I have to say, every artist shown at CANADA has had a significant impact, especially those I’ve gotten to know over the years. There’s so much to be inspired by there. More recently, outside of CANADA, I remember loving Agathe Snow at James Fuentes, Ida Ekblad's sculptures at Journal and Gavin Brown, and Otis Houston Jr., who makes work of the side of the FDR drive just under the Triborough Bridge all the time. Always really, really, really good. He is the one guy who sometimes makes me think I should quit.

Is there a work or show that you have produced that you would consider a touchstone to your body of work?
There is a person who is a touchstone to my body of work, and that is Phil Grauer. If that sounds like it could be dirty, that's accurate too.I sometimes feel like it's cheating to have Phil as a partner in sculpture. He is an artist like no other I have known, and he is an insanely good art coach. His feelings and thoughts on sculpture are way more sophisticated than mine and that helps me to stretch.

If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Have faith and tell the truth.

How do you describe your work to your parents?
I think my dad would have been able to get into them. I would have loved to get his perspective. He was psychitzophrenic and died in 1993. I feel lucky I don’t have to describe my work to my mom. She was a carpenter and built the house I grew up in and she is also spiritually aware, so I think she just kind of intuitively understands it.

Your latest work is twice to three times the size of what we've seen over the past couple of years. What prompted the increase?
I've always loved working large. I like when the sculpture is bigger than me and I start to feel overwhelmed by it. The Mitchell-Innes & Nash space allowed for real large works, and I had the desire to make them. I guess way more people saw that show than, say, the early shows at CANADA that had some large pieces.

Do you think abstraction is "about" something?
Yes, to me it is always about something. It's just that what it is about is beyond confines of language.

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