Installation view (detail), Feldenheimer Gallery, Sarah Gilbert: Breaking and Bending, 2022.

Sarah Gilbert: Breaking and Bending

Image Gallery

September 2 - September 18, 2022

The title of Los Angeles-based artist Sarah Gilbert’s living—and dying— installation suggests an order of operations that contradicts normal expectations. What is capable of breaking, and then bending? Gilbert’s
linguistic equation is not intended to invoke a conventional progression of material interaction. Rather, it is designed to stimulate an awareness of the forces and properties that allow us to expand our understanding of materiality outside of scientific—and economic—paradigms. Capitalism demands that both natural and synthetic materials become objects, and that these objects remain stable enough to be exchanged and transported around the world. In this great global circus, change is the enemy. What “breaks” is cast away into the land of the discounted, which literally means (according to the Oxford English Dictionary): “unworthy of consideration because it has lost all credibility.” In other words, what breaks has lost its meaning, and its purpose. If you’ve ever been bedridden from injury or illness, this is exactly how you feel—discounted, useless. This was Gilbert’s reality in 2018, when a near-fatal car accident crushed over ten bones in her body, and she was immobilized for a year. Adaptation was the only possible form of survival. To adapt is to bend. Meandering through the many seeds and symbols Gilbert has planted for us, we have the privilege of witnessing the genius of her adaptations and entanglements. In this world, all may be healed.

—Stephanie Snyder, Portland, OR 2022