Sarah Abarbanel is an artist and educator based in the Hudson Valley and recently received her MFA in Sculpture from the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College in New York. Her interdisciplinary, research-oriented approach to subject matter includes sculpture, video, sound, and poetry. She is interested in the radical permeability of boundaries that constitute seemingly fixed subjects, and the ways in which trying to research, know, or understand any particular one can productively undermine these same pursuits.


mixed media installation, Bard College, 2021

In transitional objects, photographs, projections, and sounds were oriented around or within vitrine-like sculptural display cases. These “tables of contents” corresponded to sections of poetic prose broadly based on the history of the New York Aquarium. The vitrines were installed in the space according to the original architectural plans for this site. Viewers of the installation were invited to touch the printed images and move freely between the constellation of displayed parts.





forming nouns usually denoting a place

a place for relating to


Mixed Media Installation, Banff Centre, CA, 2018

Speech forms was an evolving mixed media installation and series of dance performances utilizing sound, gesture, and drawing. Using the studio as a site, I covered the space in vinyl dance flooring and drew a phoneme-inspired map on which the dancers rehearsed. The drawing contains two circles, each of which has forty-four equidistant, color coded points around the circumference. Each point represents one of the forty-four phonetic sounds in American English. The circles’ interiors were filled with sand, a common material used in early childhood classrooms to facilitate multi-sensory learning and memory.
Responding to a diverse series of prompts and spoken scores, the dancers improvised between the corresponding series of speech-points to create sentences. The dancers taught one another new phrases as they moved through an intuitive process of mirroring and repetition.


Mixed Media Installation, SHOWROOM, Gowanus 2016
In cmyk, cotton thread was woven across four wooden frames to create four screens: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. When the viewer occupies a specific vantage point in front of these screens, all four align to create one rectangular shape. However, when the viewer moves, the image breaks, and one's attention is called to the four discrete planes it is composed of, as well as the activated moiré where the screens overlap.

A second area of the installation included a 12 minute looping video and series of photographs on newsprint. In the video, I am seen handling stacks of photographs from the installation. The video weaves through a set of associations broadly tied to the history of the New York Aquarium, focusing on the flooding of the aquarium during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the flooding of The Corning Museum of Glass during Hurricane Agnes in 1972.


Mixed Media Installation, Universal Building Supply Exhibition Center, NY, 2022
The Flooded Materials was a mixed media installation and sound sculpture. Transducers, affixed to the panels of used glass, played an array of field recordings from the New York Aquarium and other sites of relevance at low volumes, only discernible when heard in close proximity to the glass.


photographs, sand containing disintegrating sandstone from Castle Clinton, the former home of the New York Aquarium, sand from Coney Island, the area in which the current New York aquarium is housed, and local dust; fish “eye-blanks” purchased from Van Dyke’s Taxidermy Supply, used glass purchased from Zaborsky’s Emporium, video, field recordings, transducers, cords, existing architecture