Jagged edges, frayed cardboard boxes, angular bits of tape, and illuminated wood—this is artist Sandra Erbacher’s playing field. A current MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin, and recent winner of Madison’s Blink grant for public art, her work both captures and confounds. I was first attracted to her prismatic piece, #89, a digital print mounted on aluminum that looks like a cross between an oversized crystal talisman and something Lady Gaga might dream of wearing as a headpiece. It’s an arresting, 3D image that would feel home in a museum or minimalist abode—much like Erbacher’s beautiful light and wood sculptures.
Focusing on the in-between space and the fragmenting of construction, Erbacher creates large-scale collages, too. She crafts disjointed wallpaper into sci-fi relics or pieces parcel tape together in a sort of futuristic explosion. Always, her work seems to move, defy gravity, and speak in a quiet, otherworldly way. Her latest piece, I kept this part away from you, was commissioned by the Madison Arts Council and looms above a tire store. From far away, it tricks drivers into thinking it’s a picturesque horizon on a nondescript billboard, but up close, it’s a digital image depicting the opening of an old cardboard box.
If you happen to find yourself on the Beltway Highway between exits 262 and 263 in Madison, Wisconsin, don’t forget to slow down and take a closer look at Erbacher’s work yourself. It’s on view to all passers-by until Feburary 3.