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Taylor Zakarin


Sarah Braman (American, born, 1970)
Near You, 2011
Plexiglas and Welded Steel
78 x 65 x 42 inches
Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection


In the last year, Sarah Braman’s work, Near You, has found its home in various locations at NorthPark Center. The strength of this sculpture is manifest in the fact that it has looked stellar in each of these locations. Most recently, we moved the work to the court off of the NorthPark Boulevard entrance, between Macy's and Dillard's. With our new skylights, Near You glows – drawing viewers down the hall to get a closer look.

Sarah Braman is one of the founders of the artist-run Canada Gallery, in New York, and was the 2013 recipient of the Maud Morgan Prize from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The artist was born in Upstate New York, and was raised in a cabin that her mother built herself. This upbringing is evident in her works that incorporate objects as diverse as spray painted foam rubber, wooden doors, broken off pieces of a camper and tents, the roof of a truck, etc… However the artist is perhaps best known for her sculptures composed of translucent quadrilaterals carefully balanced at various light-catching angles.

The surfaces of Near You are both reflective and illuminating, casting violet and indigo-hued shadows across the floor. The forms and use of Plexiglas call to mind the work of Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd, who stacked steel and plastic boxes up walls or placed them directly on the floor, while the transparency of her work is reminiscent of the glass pavilions of Dan Graham. In tilting the box forms ever so slightly, Braman also relates her work to the precariously balanced boxes of Joel Shapiro – whose work is also on view at NorthPark Center.

Braman began working with Plexiglas after stumbling upon Mylar when at Canal Plastics Center in New York City. From the Mylar, Braman then moved to hard plastic. The artist has noted the layering of the color is like “being in the car, and the reflections on the windows, and things moving…there is something about that, being inside of this pod, and its safe and it’s a transporter, and the glass is reflective.” These minimalist monoliths completely change depending on the angle at which you view them – both structurally and in terms of their color. The range of hues, produced by both the light cast on the piece and the angle you are viewing it from, is vast.

The artist continues to make these works, however she has changed process so that the sculptures can exist outdoors – now, instead of Plexi, Braman uses glazed/laminated glass and stainless steel.