Sara's artist profile
Sara Dittrich is an interdisciplinary sculpture artist who builds introspective experiences that shift perspective from passive seeing to active looking, from passive hearing to active listening. Using musical thinking, Dittrich illuminates the dynamic and unconscious rhythms of the body and environments. The work is simultaneously gestural and architectonic: gestural in that it evokes the body’s expression in physical movement; architectonic, in that it occurs in a built environment designed to change the body’s movement in space. Her art is heard and felt in real time, a feature that Nat Trotman, Curator of Performance and Media at the Guggenheim, called “the liveness” of Dittrich’s work.
Dittrich uses a diverse set of mediums that often include sculptural objects, musical performance, video, and interactive electronic technologies. In whatever her chosen medium, Dittrich challenges our expectations and assumptions by exploring natural and constructed dualities—internal/external, up/down, rise/fall, large/small, right/left, presence/abscence. From placing a cellist in a 9ft. tall chair, sculpting hundreds of tiny ears from clay, or performing with bio sensors that match breath to tidal movement, the work can be described as both absurd and meditative.
In her most recent works she seeks to compare rhythms of the human body with rhythms in the landscape, as a method to consider—and place within personal, felt experience—human relationship with the changing climate. Dittrich encourages the audience to slow down, engage in sensory perception, and find poetic refuge in moments of crisis. These multi-sensory experiences use the body’s circulatory system as a means of fielding questions about close listening and ecological healing. Through her works she invites viewers to consider the authority of their own somatic experience.
As a life-long musician and the granddaughter of a woodworker, Dittrich began by building wooden sculptures inspired by musical instruments. This led to creating performances to use those objects and using video to document the performances. From there, she added interactive tech to increase connection between the viewer and the piece.
Dittrich’s studio practice is located in Baltimore, Maryland where she has lived and worked since receiving her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Dittrich continuously informs her work through travel, a practice that began in 2013 when she studied under Dominik Lang at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. She has also been awarded artist residencies including Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (2015); the Vermont Studio Center Fellowship (2015); and Sculpture Space (2015). In 2018-2019, she was a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. She is the recipient of a 2017 Mary Sawyers Baker Artist Award, and was a 2017 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize Finalist.
Dittrich’s work has been exhibited and performed in numerous venues including the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Washington Project for the Arts, DC; and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI.