Growth and Decay in the Work of Sarah Meyers Brent

Sarah Meyers Brent pushes the boundaries of beauty and ugliness in visceral, living works that traverse painting, sculpture and installation with her series, Growth and Decay, which has been extended through July 1, 2017. THIS SATURDAY, June 17, 2-3:30pm, join Danforth Art curator Jessica Roscio along with Meyers Brent for a behind-the-scenes conversation between artist and curator about the making and the meaning of this new work. You are invited to experience a preview of Saturday’s special event with this essay written by Jessica Roscio for the Growth and Decay exhibition catalog…

Sarah Meyers Brent, Growth and Decay, installation view, June 2017

“My first experience with Sarah Meyers Brent’s work was a piece called Spewing Plant (2011). Brown tentacles sprung from a densely packed canvas and threatened to inch their way down the wall. The piece oozed with dirt and flowers, and truly seemed alive. Looking back on Sarah’s work, and considering the directions she has taken it, Spewing Plant now seems a relatively tame undertaking. I had the pleasure of working with Sarah on her exhibition at Danforth Art Museum last year, in which her work spilled and oozed out of every corner of the gallery, and her site-specific installation, Beautiful Decay, grew gloriously from the ceiling, dripped down the wall, and pooled on the floor. Sarah’s works shift seamlessly from the canvas, to the wall, to the ceiling, to the floor, and she reimagines a work’s relationship to its space in the vein of Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis. Her mastery of materials allows one to trace where she is coming from, artistically and intellectually, and where her process will lead her next.



Sarah Meyers Brent, Beautiful Mess, fabric, acrylic, mixed-media on Drywall 144”x120”x75” 2017

“The materials Sarah uses—flowers, vines, dirt, foam, discarded clothing—the organic and inorganic—are central to understanding her process. The hand of the artist is evident in all of her works, and her choice of media belies the historically inherent and much debated notion that certain materials fall within the realm of “women’s work.” Undoubtedly, Sarah’s paintings and installations, such as Mommy Loves Me III and Beautiful Mess, speak directly to this lineage, and gender is an obvious presence in the work. The stress and strain of domestic and familial life literally breaks through canvases and walls and spills in semi-controlled chaos. Works such as Ooze V appear almost burdened by their media, the accumulation of which is both cumbersome and the result of the fervor of productivity. The dichotomy of growth and decay in the works, along with Sarah’s approach to the malleability of space, from densely packed installations to the sparer canvases of Plant Monster and Dripping Plant III, affirm that her work results from an on-going conversation with an evolving and changing life and the detritus of the every day.”

Jessica Roscio, Ph.D., is Curator at Danforth Art Museum, in Framingham, Massachusetts.

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