Heather Brammeier is a sculptor and installation artist whose work continues the function of childhood play into adulthood. Brammeier was recently selected by curator Alice Gray Stites for inclusion in the exhibition Furies, Fairies, Visionaries at Pen + Brush in New York City. Brammeier won Best in Show at the South Bend Museum of Art Biennial 29, selected by juror Miranda Lash; and first prize in the 2015 Rooftop Project Space Competition at Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago, IL). The Urban Institute of Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids, MI) selected Brammeier as a featured artist for their ArtPrize 7 exhibition SENSE. Brammeier’s large outdoor installation was subsequently recognized with an honorable mention in Dave Bown Project’s 11th Semiannual Competition. Brammeier has been selected for a variety of residency programs across the country and internationally, including International Studio & Curatorial Program (NY), Yaddo (NY), Spiro Arts (UT), The Hambidge Center (GA), The Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada), and Pontlevoy Creative Residencies (France). Brammeier is a Professor of Art at Bradley University.
My playful installations create the sensation of defying gravity while really exploiting the laws of physics. While working, I stack sculptural objects, lifting and leaning them against each other to achieve height and a sense of precariousness. While testing my own physical limitations, I come up with ways to create leverage, or ways to hold things in place temporarily until I can secure them. This process has several benefits. Because I have to make things balance until I can secure them, the configuration already has gravity on its side, even if it seems precarious. Another benefit is that the process requires me to be responsive to what works and what doesn’t. I embrace the fact that I can’t predict exactly how the final work will appear, because I know that having to adjust during the process leads to configurations I would never have imagined at the beginning of the process. In addition, the process is really an adult extension of the way very young people use play as a way to test boundaries. Whether it’s a five-year-old who stacks blocks until they fall over, or a thirteen-year-old who jumps from higher and higher precipices on the local playground, people test their own limits by testing their environment. As adults, the limits tested are often emotional and psychological. We grapple with love and loss, very different experiences that are inextricably bound to each other.
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