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Fiercely Curious is an online art & design collective based in Brooklyn.

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Sara Mejia Kriendler
About Sara Mejia Kriendler
Having studied at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Sara continued her education at the School of Visual Arts where she received her Master's of Fine Arts. She was awarded the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award and received a fellowship with A.I.R. Gallery. With solo shows at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn and in Bregenz, Austria, Sara has also shown in Arizona, New York and Pennsylvania.

Working with styrofoam and hydrocal, Sara digs into her childhood past of her time in Brussels where she saw Roman ruins being uncovered. Her work now transcends time by taking discardable elements of today and... read more
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Art by Sara Mejia Kriendler

In conversation with Sara Mejia Kriendler

Erin: What are you curious about?

Sara: I am curious about the past, the future, and everything in between. I am fascinated by artifacts, etched, and painted pieces of pottery, the remnants and residue of our ancestors. I am amazed at how we construct history in part out of fragments that are dredged from the mud. I am curious about what we will leave behind and what stories our ruins will tell.
Erin: Describe your work and describe your process.

Sara: Collecting materials, textures, and objects is the starting point for my work. I find a lot of materials in the streets; styrofoam, plastic packaging, parts of appliances, knobs, switches, wires. I also get a lot of materials from dollar stores and occasionally online. Back in my studio I press these materials into wet clay. I call this technique stamping. Then I pour hydrocal into the impressed clay to cast the impression and solidify the form. It is a very basic and primitive technique but produces an amazing level of detail and intricacy. Some of the castings I leave intact, others I smash into fragments and reassemble. So basically I collect, stamp, cast, shatter and start all over again. I have been focusing on this technique for a year, but it is only part of my practice.
Erin: How has hydrocal become your medium of choice?

Sara: Working with plaster is what made me become a sculptor. It turns from liquid to amazing. You can cast, carve, add and subtract, and break it, which makes it ideal for my process. I started using hydrocal because I wanted something slightly stronger.
Erin: You reference various objects from cables and chains to airplanes and military figures. Tell us about the objects that have left imprints in your work.

Sara: I choose objects that function as textures and/or symbols. I try to weave these pieces into textural narratives. I like objects that can suggest a variety of forms. A wire can become a river or a worm or a road. Each object has a very specific symbolism to me, and each symbol is a puzzle piece in a larger narrative, but I wouldn't want to give that story away. I want people to form their own stories.
Erin: There's an aesthetic of excavation and archaeology in your work- where does that come from?

Sara: Growing up in Brussels, I remember a number of construction projects that uncovered Roman ruins. Maybe peering into those dark holes and seeing the remains of another world just got to me.
Erin: When we came to your studio, we saw your collection of styrofoam packaging. What's it all about?

Sara: Styrofoam is a big part of my practice. The shapes are stunning and I can't help collecting it. I have a whole storage unit full. I was using it to build architectural installations. I would assemble structures and embellish them with plaster casts from plastic packaging. I took a break from using it for a few months, but now I am returning to it with a fresh perspective, so we'll see what happens next.

Erin: What is your budget-less dream project?

Sara: Living and working in New York I spend a lot of time on the subway. And while some stations have good art, there is a lot of room for improvement. I would love to take over a whole station and tile the entire space with my relief sculptures. I think it would be incredible to turn a station into an immersive installation. I would love to give people more than just ads and their phones to look at while they wait for the train. This is just one big dream of MANY!
Erin: As a graduate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in sculpture and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts what's the most crucial knowledge you've gained from your studies?

Sara: Do what you love. Be honest and make whatever is strange and particular to you.

Erin: When not sculpting, what's your other forms of practice?

Sara: I love dance, especially the tango. I practiced for a few years. Argentine tango is really about improvisation and being in tune with the music, your partner, and the moment. It is such a rush, I wish I could do it every day. Unfortunately right now I am always working, so sleep is the only other thing I have time to practice.

Erin: What's next.

Sara: After a styrofoam hiatus, it is starting to creep back into my work and merge with my current practice. I'm excited to see where this new merger takes me. Stayed tuned.
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