Sarah Braman: MITCHELL-INNES & NASH
O'Neill-Butler, Lauren, Artforum International
In 1969, Shasta Trailer Industries--then the best-selling mobile - home manufacturer in the United States--introduced a new product: the Loflyte. Sporting better amenities than the classic silver toaster - on - wheels, this leaner, more compact trailer allowed itinerant Americans to take on the country's mushrooming interstate system in hitherto unheard-of comfort. Now fast-forward forty years: The once - prominent Shasta Industries has collapsed, its innovative vehicles nearly gone from memory. For her first solo show at Mitchell - Innes & Nash, Sarah Braman dissected and transformed a Loflyte model from the 1980s bathroom, kitchen, bed, and all--turning the nomadic, emblematically American dwelling into something monumental and tomblike.
To be sure, her carving up of dusty mobile domestic space was inspired by many precedents, from John Chamberlain's crushed automobiles to Gordon Matta-Clark's iconic building cuts. More additive than subtractive, Braman's five new sculptures also feature Plexiglas cubes and rectangles balanced on or bolted to the so-called camper chunks. The largest piece in the show, Good Morning (November) (all works 2011), fuses a significant portion of the butchered trailer's back end--sans wheels--with two rectangular Plexiglas vessels arranged in an upside-down L. One of these boxes bears random marks of blue, purple, and brown paint, like a late-'60s Light and Space piece from LA trashed by an angry Ab Exer. By and large, the Plexiglas throughout the show conjured California: Shadows bounced off the transparent but violet- and indigo-hued cubes, bringing to mind the specific, subtle changes of coastal light and atmosphere you might become enamored with while driving along Highway 1 at sunset. …