Sarah Grass | Unmanned

Doppelgänger | Studio
59-33 Linden Street
2nd Floor
Ridgewood, NY 11385

March 17 - June 7, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 17, 3:00 - 6:00pm


Imagine an unmanned planet.

Imagine the orbit of the unmanned planet crowning your skull. Your head is its vertical axis.

At times eclipsing your entire field of vision, the planet’s body appears as common as grass. Other times behind you, it’s as remote as a distant memory or an obvious but unverifiable future.

Consciousness is contradictory.

With eyes on one side and an asymmetrically functioning brain, your sense of the unmanned planet’s orbital path is utterly imagined.

Time, like a crown, is just a metaphor.

- Sarah Grass -

Doppelgänger Projects is pleased to present Sarah Grass | Unmanned, at Doppelgänger | Studio in Ridgewood, Queens from March 17 - June 7, 2019. An opening reception will be held on March 17, 2019 from 3:00 - 6:00pm.

The black ink pools and darkens, swirling into cognitive formations. Mercurial figures morph and flow across the plane of paper, towards the edge, unfurling into the surreptitious surrealism of Sarah Grass’s work. The fluctuating renderings of cognizance develops and shifts the web of daydreams into a distilled landscape of memory and time. Flashing through remnants of thought and association, stories are told and narratives revealed in nonlinear presentation, as Grass’s hand parlays the transcendence of connective consciousness.

To be clear, Unmanned is a multi-layered reckoning, inspired by earlier female surrealists, whose folding of the artist’s gaze unto themselves created a pleating of emotions. Emotions, forever entwined with the yin of femininity, were nonetheless appropriated by masculine-leaning artists of the era, as though to be provoked by burrowing one’s toes in the muck of emotional depth - to feel - was a unique mystical perspective. Instead, Grass negates this historical context by asserting a whole other dimension of herstory - an unmanned lexicon of surrealism, and, thus, art.

But whatever sameness I’ve noted in my relationships with women is not the sameness of Woman, and certainly not the sameness of parts. Rather, it is the shared, crushing understanding of what it means to live in a patriarchy. (Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts)

To no longer hold onto the divide of the masculine or feminine, but to rely instead on the collective, ungendered consciousness of all - that is true inspiration. This is one of the major thematic components in Grass’s work - there are very few actual human-animal subjects within the work. Although piecemeal body parts may present themselves, the occasional head or hand, they are not the focal point, as they merge, dive, or slice into other entities. Fluidity of organic identity is mimicked throughout - the platypus in “Thalassa,” one of nature’s patchwork creatures, a bust of Hippocrates merging with the head of a cat in “Hippocrates’ Nine Lives,” a swan’s crooked-neck bends in mirrored silhouette to a human heart, in “Black Swan Hatchery.” All of these elements swim and conjoin together in chimeric recall.

The one human figure that truly makes their impression is the dual portrait of 19th century German judge, Daniel Paul Schreber, in Unmanned XY  and Unmanned XX, the titular diptych that began Grass’s journey within Unmanned. Schreber’s psychological delirium, as recounted in his personal memoirs, placed him at a crossroads between genders. By becoming a woman, i.e., becoming unmanned, one could jump ship from the masculine precepts and expectations of family, society, and cultural norms. Without the male millstone, one could achieve buoyancy, an incredible lightness of being that would provide the power of feminine creativity and form of strength to save the world, as mandated by God. Schreber appears in the diptych as both a masculine and feminine subject, his traditional portrait in XX formulated and feminized through FaceApp, a digital tool that can bend an individual’s gender and age. Additional symbolic elements harken the transition from left to right, from one to the other, from yang to yin. This shirking of a toxic and material past towards a sublimely spiritual future elucidates the feminist topos Grass envisions within this exhibition.

Our memories and yearnings dictate our view of the world, as segmented and unpronounceable as they may be. Sarah Grass attempts to articulate these particular fragments into a greater conceptual whole while building the foundations for a future identity, in intricate, complex detail. A new singularity; unmanned.


Sarah Grass is an interdisciplinary artist studying narrative consciousness through drawing and sculpture. Her work consists of psychological diagrams, landscapes, and globes mapping imagery that is at once diaristic, political, ecological, and surreal. Carefully penned in permanent black ink without preliminary planning, each work displays an organic evolution of thought and image. Migrating around the drawing surface Grass concentrates on one small area at a time, forming complex webs of carefully rendered images that meander from point to point like a network of plant roots, or the trace of genes in a family lineage. Through this process, she seeks a visual balance among coexisting narratives for a better understanding of what the contemporary human condition of thinking in multiple dimensions, and from multiple perspectives, looks like. Grass holds a BFA in Fine Arts and MFA in Art Practice from The School of Visual Arts in New York, where she received the Alumni Award Thesis Grant, Art Practice Thesis Grant, and the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award for exceptional achievement. Her work has been exhibited internationally, at The Ferry Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand (2018), JustMAD Art Fair, Madrid, Spain (2017),  the New School for Social Research, New York, NY (2016), and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX (2015).

Sarah Grass | Unmanned will be open March 17, 3:00 - 6:00 P.M. and by appointment.

To schedule a visit or for inquiries regarding available works, please contact