Critics’ Picks

View of “Peter Alexander and Sarah Braman,” 2010.

View of “Peter Alexander and Sarah Braman,” 2010.

New York

Peter Alexander and Sarah Braman

Franklin Parrasch Gallery
53 E. 64th Street
November 4–December 18, 2010

This show creates a cross-generational dialogue between two artists who are primarily concerned with space and color, and with how these aspects of sculptural work affect light on a surface. Peter Alexander was born in 1939; Sarah Braman in 1970. They are from opposite coasts and different generations, but a connection is visible in the richness of the relationship between the two artists’ practices, both of which reveal a predilection for domestic sensation.

The opening gambit is from Alexander: Pink Drip (all works cited, 2010), a rectangular wall-based work made of cast polyester resin and a poured-in pink pigment that makes the upper portion a deeper hue. The pink color runs through the sculpture, which diminishes and becomes physically thinner as the color fades. It is as if a slip of paper or fabric has been hung out to dry. The uneven bottom edge casts a rough shadow that appears to flutter. Adjacent is Friend, a floor piece by Braman, and this juxtaposition develops the conversation between the two artists. Braman presents a common tubular chair (with light salmon-hued upholstery) pivoted upward on one edge of its base and held in place by a slab of thick, gray, golden-veined marble that is laid across the chair’s seat in a carefully calibrated balancing act. This physical manifestation of gravity is further emphasized by a piece of heavy plywood attached to the upper end of the marble slab. Braman employs ordinary materials yet makes them appear slightly disconcerting; her strangely transformed objects seem to express unexpected latencies and desires. In this respect, both artists plumb the depths of domesticity to construct a marvelous dialogue.