international drawing annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Sarah Bliss
Montague, Massachusetts

pages 55-58


I work in sculpture, installation, performance, and video to explore the intersections of commercial, industrial and cultural production.  I look for sites of overlap, complicity, and exchange and seek to highlight, enact, and problematize both the making and undermining of meaning in cultural and commercial production.

My Walking-Marking project is a multi-part exploration of the investment of meaning in labor; the relative value of different forms of labor; the activation of space through physical and mental attention/intention; and the traces left by the body.  In it, I utilize and investigate non-traditional drawing forms -- drawing made by the body's passage through space, and drawing onto architectural structures (walls and bridges) with media as varied as graphite and video projection.

In its first iteration in Johnson, Vermont in 2009, an installation was created in a durational performance lasting 24 days.  Each day, I spent between two-four hours walking back and forth between two walls, making a graphite mark on each wall each time I arrived at it.  Over time, the accumulated labor evolved into two drawings: 1) two gridlike wall drawings each made of rows composed of 9,441 graphite hatchmarks and 2) a straight bandlike floor drawing made as my continual footsteps burnished the floor.  At the end of the installation, the wall drawings were painted over and the floor drawing was left intact.

After completion of the installation, video footage of the performance/installation was projected onto the Pearl Street Gihon River Bridge, under construction in Johnson, VT, just outside my studio window.  Through the video projection, my body enacted a new drawing onto the bridge, and layered the private cultural labor of my earlier performance onto the very public manual labor of the S.D. Ireland Concrete Company.  In so doing, I sought to highlight questions of the relative value of the two forms of labor, and correlations between their physicality, temporality, ephemerality, and mark-making.





Harvard Divinity School, M Th (Masters of Theological Studies), 1994
Oberlin College, BA, 1985

selected awards/honors

VSC Full fellowship supported by the Dedalus Foundation. Vermont Studio Center, 2009

selected publications

Decadence and Decay: The Mansion Project; Rutgers University.  Catalog,  pp 42-43, 2009
Scannel, Caroline. "The Misleading Pleasure of Consumption," Massachusetts Daily Collegian, April 9, 2009.
Studio Visit Magazine, Spring 2009, Volume 6.  Boston, MA.  pp 14-15

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Artspace, New Haven, CT, 2010
Delavan Gallery: More Than What I Knew, Syracuse, NY, 2010
Wunderarts Gallery: Consumed, Amherst, MA, 2009
A.P.E. Gallery: Closing the Gap: New Paintings by Sarah Bliss, Northampton, MA, 2007

selected group shows

University of Maine Museum of Art: I-95 Triennial, Bangor, ME, 2010
Schmidt Art Gallery, Wartburg College: Beauty's Burden, Waverly, IA, 2010
Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers Univ.: Decadence and Decay: The Mansion Project, Newark, NJ, 2009
Tank Space for Performing and Visual Arts: Archetime, New York, NY, 2009

Copyright © 2006-2011 Manifest Press