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Art Review: Sarah Braman at International Art Objects

April 14, 2012 |  9:00 am

Calling Wendy - Braman
The work in New York artist Sarah Braman’s first solo show in Los Angeles, at International Art Objects (formerly China Art Objects), confronts viewers with one of the great existential questions of contemporary abstraction: Is it a painting? Or is it wood with paint on it? Is it a sculpture? Or is it scrap wood?

If we consider a painting to be an object in which paint and wood (or, in the case of one of Braman’s works, cardboard) are mysteriously synthesized, whether by effort, skill or accident, into an object of energetic resonance clearly in excess of the sum of its parts, only one of the four contenders in this show leans toward qualifying: an unaccountably lively piece called “Tuesday,” in which a thin wash of blue on one panel balances nimbly against several darker patches of blue on an adjoining panel.

The show’s four sculptures — large-scale plywood and Plexiglas cubes that tip and tilt across the floor with little apparent interference from gravity — fare somewhat better, filling the space of each room with a degree, at least, of companionable bulk.

They aren’t near as dynamic as those in Braman’s other recent exhibitions in New York, however, many of which incorporate chunks of furniture, buildings and automobiles, which leads one to wonder what might have been lost in the translation of transcontinental shipping.

It is an occupational hazard of this mode of working that spontaneity and spirited intention don’t always get a work off the ground. This appears to be one of those times.


More art reviews from the Los Angeles Times 

--Holly Myers

International Art Objects, 6086 Comey Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 965-2264, through May 5. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Image: Sarah Braman, "Calling Wendy," 2012, Aluminum, plexiglas, paint, radio. Courtesy International Art Objects.