Sally Raab

Sally Raab

The conceptual crux of my practice distills to binary relationships, how their arguably existent in-between spaces function, and often larger organic system theory. These broad conceptual strokes are dense and very complex, so I look to more tangible embodiments of them when researching and creating work. I pull my research from gender theory, body image, and visual cues from the natural environment. My work oscillates between a variety of mediums but I mainly work with modular installations and performative video. Each of these forms have a rich history in contemporary art, and offer visual access to what can be often inaccessibly dense concepts. They also have the added benefit of being able to be merged quite easily.

Through working with simplicity, I attempt to use personal experience and poetic story-telling to delve into my conceptual interests. Working in videos and performances with simple actions, and installations with limited color pallets, I can strip away a lot of visual complexity. This allows for enough space in the work itself to lead viewers to think about how very complex systems and ideas play into the world around us in tangible and substantial ways.

I will use my time during this programmed residency to explore an older and unresolved series of videos that I entitled “honest body”. These videos were simple black and white single-shots, where I would manipulate different parts of my face and body in an attempt to reveal the subcutaneous structure and discuss ideas around the physical body through starting the conversation with my own marred relationship to my body.

These videos became a very important jumping-off point for some of the work that I’m doing now, but I’ve always wanted to go back and examine them further. The videos themselves were so rough that I all have now are a few low resolution stills. I will re-shoot them, expand on them formally and conceptually, and work with different ways of turning them into video installations.

I believe that they have a good deal of visual and conceptual richness, but need so much work before they move from old research to finished works. I think the opportunity to work intensively on them for two weeks with the feedback of my peers and Teresa Ascencao would be the exact tools that I need to bring what exists now mainly in my head into fruition.


Sally Raab received a BFA in drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2010. Philadelphia grown, she maintains an emerging art practice based in new media installation and performance. Her work has been exhibited locally and throughout the United States, most notably Body/Brain at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, the 2012 Calgary Biennial Hearts of the New West and a solo exhibition at Calgary’s Sugar Cube Gallery. She has been involved with a number of local artist-run centres as a board and staff member such as Pith Gallery and Studios, Untitled Art Society and Mountain Standard Time Festival of Performative Art (M:ST). In addition to art she likes natural specimens in jars, Roland Barthes and a nice cup of coffee.