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At Benefit v.15, Win Back Your Space with our annual silent art auction and fundraiser on Saturday, February 7 at Crane Arts. All the elements for transforming your space – personal, office, or otherwise – are yours for the bidding. This week, we’re featuring artists who have transformed the space of their lives and of the world around them by tackling issues relevant to personal renewal and social identity.

Sarah R. Bloom‘s photography takes abandoned buildings and restructures them with the questions of aging humanity. Read more about her influences and experience, as well as the piece she’ll have up for auction, in an exclusive interview below.

Could you tell me a bit about your arts background?

I have no formal arts education, but I’ve been exposed to art my entire life. My mother, Rosalind Bloom (an InLiquid member), is an abstract painter and art historian. I grew up with her teaching art history at two local colleges so I was surrounded by art books and art history books. At the same time she had a studio room in the house where she painted, and I saw her go back to school at PAFA when I was a teenager. For me, I floundered around trying to find my niche but wasted most of my time as an addict to be honest. When I came back to photography after loving it when I was younger, the ease of digital helped me keep at it I think. I’m in a place now where I’d love to expand my knowledge and start taking some classes, but in the meantime I read, watch video tutorials, and look at lots of art.

You’ve done self-portrait work in abandoned buildings. Do you find that art can be an important component to winning back a sense of personal space?

I’ve been shooting self-portraits in abandoned buildings since mid 2007. For me, the abandoned buildings are part of the entire scene. My work has to do with aging and the identity of women in middle age in our society (I’m currently 45).

Making art is such an intensely personal process, that yes, I think it gives one a sense of personal space.

Is art important for creating a sense of identity?

I think art is vital in exploring our identity, I don’t know if it creates it.

If you mean rather do I want to identify as an artist, then I would say that creating art is important in creating that particular identity.

Do you have any upcoming exhibits or projects?

Yes! My mother and I will be doing our first show together this coming April at Da Vinci Art Alliance (704 Catherine St. Philadelphia) and I’m very excited about it. I am working on some mixed media pieces for the show that incorporate my photos. The reception will be the second Saturday (April 11) due to Passover and Easter both falling that first weekend, time TBD.

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Can you tell me a little about the piece you are donating for the Benefit?

“I know of nothing that ever grew younger” is part of this ongoing series that I’ve just been calling “Self, Abandoned.” This particular piece I was really thrilled with the quality of light I had that day. I have yet to use any artificial light in this series, so when I enter a building I am looking for where the light is and how I see myself in the setting. I was giddy with this light. For me, this piece illustrates so much of what the series is about: the push/pull of our identity as we age. There is light and dark, sadness and beauty, fear and acceptance, a folding into and a pushing out all at once.

Have you participated previously in the Benefit? If so what was your impression?

Last year was the first time I participated and I was thrilled. I thought everything was handled beautifully from start to finish in terms of communication with the artists and promotion. The opening was such a great opportunity to see incredible artwork and the vast talent this city has to offer. That my piece sold made it a home run.

What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s Benefit?

Just seeing everyone’s art, really. It makes me happy. And the fact that I’m applying for membership this year so I’ll feel even more a part of everything.

Do you think it’s important for the general public to support the arts and organizations like InLiquid, and if so why?

I think it is absolutely necessary! Just imagine a city without art and arts programs, how sad that would be. Art is the pulse of a city, I think. Keeps the heart alive, the blood flowing, and gives us a true reflection of ourselves.

Bid on Sarah Bloom’s work in advance on the auction site, or join us at Benefit v.15 on Saturday, February 7. Click here to purchase tickets at the advance price. Or join us for Young Professionals Night on Friday, February 6.

James Rosenthal

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