Sarah Bliss
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In which disciplines do you work or exhibit?
Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Installation
Artist Statement/Bio
I construct sculpture, paintings, and installations utilizing packaging and shipping materials (shrink wrap, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, plastic strapping, wooden pallets, etc.), combined with paint and photographic imagery. My work addresses the systems of exchange in cultural and commercial production, and the psychology of desire. I examine the economic and physical trajectories, and the psychological subtexts, that goods travel from production through marketing, packaging, distribution, sale, use, and finally disposal.

The materiality of the object is of central importance in my work, and the materials I work with are chosen for their associative meanings and aesthetic potential. I am particularly interested in the role of packaging as a manipulator of consumer desire and a signifier of absence or not-having. The removal of packaging upon purchase eliminates the separation between consumer and the object of desire, but often leads only to an awareness of the failure of the consumptive act to create fulfillment. Likewise, I explore the nature of shipping materials as membranes that are considered valuable only in their ability to protect and contain the central objects of value. I investigate the reversal that happens when these materials shed their role as wrappers of other objects and instead lay full claim to their nature as the primary object of value. In this exploration, time and the qualities of inside/outside, reflectivity, and presence/absence are particularly emphasized.

Formally, my sculpture references the body, and raises questions about the relationship between consumer goods, the human body, and the "body" of the earth. By utilizing throwaway, subsidiary packaging and shipping materials, the full trajectory of economic exchange is engaged, drawing attention to the backside of consumption: the violence enacted through the objectification and commodification of human and natural resources through the vast accumulation of material that becomes trash.

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At 8:08am on May 2, 2009, Henry Balzarini said…
Hi Sarah,
Thanks for the response re the improv troupe. Things are in a very early stage right now. I'm compiling a list of those interested, and will send updates as they come. Feel free to email me at with further questions or comments. Take care,

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