Mai Braun concluded her Chinati residency with an exhibition entitled More Prototypes in August 2005. Braun’s work draws on everyday materials—house paint, lumber, papier-mâché, thin tubes of fluorescent plastic—in order to create witty and delicate mobiles, stabiles, and sculptures. At the Locker Plant she showed work made in Marfa, including sculptures constructed from cardboard boxes donated by Pueblo Market and the Dollar General. Braun altered and reconstituted the boxes in a variety of ways. For Cardboard Structure No. 1 she crushed the boxes flat, fitted them together with tabs and slots, then hung the big tottering structure from the ceiling of the Locker Plant’s back room. Rock Pile was just that: a heap of rubble made from boxes painted a uniform grey and spilled in the corner of the back courtyard. Rock Pillar stood one tall, rectangular box upright as a solo piece, humble and unadorned except for its painted and faceted peak. The artist also showed sculptures made from thin, painted wooden dowels interlaced to form looping arabesques, as well as other work made during her residency. Braun’s work courts but doesn’t demand attention. Rigorously constructed, it seems nonetheless perpetually on the verge of collapse. Insinuating itself into the viewer’s field of perception, it hints at a wide range of possible associations while never disguising its quotidian origins or the process of its making.
Mai Braun was born in Berlin and attended the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and the Royal College of Art in London. In 1997-99 she participated in the Core Fellowship program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. She has exhibited in the U.S. and abroad, including group shows at the Museum of Fine Arts and DiverseWorks in Houston; Alagalleria in Helsinki, Finland; and the Bronx Museum of Art in New York. Her first solo show was held at Brooklyn Fire Proof, Inc., in January-February 2006. She participated in a two-person show at the Kluuvi Gallery, Helsinki City Art Museum, in Finland in March 2006; in April 2006 she took part in a group show entitled “Open Networks Brooklyn” at Ampersand International Arts in San Francisco. In May 2007 she showed work as part of a two-artist exhibition at Chuchifritos Gallery in New York.