Anahita (Ani) Bradberry is an Iranian-American artist and writer creating sculptural situations with plasma light. Her work combines illuminated rare gasses within glass tubes amongst natural and industrial materials, often exploring a state of alienation that is defined by oscillating identities and cultural memory. As organic bodies and minimal geometries, her practice is an exercise in life-forming: filling fragile tubular vessels with pulsing plasma. Each object is simultaneously a multidimensional line and a borderless field of light.
Observing the relationship between illumination and life, she approaches this work with a series of critical questions: how can sculpture become tangible enough to activate lifelong awareness of your surroundings; how can material and light liberate thought; and how can the art-viewing experience become radical and communal? Ranging from glassblowing to gardening, the processes of fabrication and installation required to realize Anahita's dreams are both meditative and dangerous.
Rare gas lights are essentially alive, “mortal” in their limited lifespan of approximately 15 years, prone to unexpected internal behaviors, and reliant on external power sources. Emphasizing its chemical beauty and uncanny activation of sensory memory, Ani has experimented with neon minimalism and, recently, installations in earth and water. Electrical wiring functions beneath the soil as a vascular system, evoking the root structure of the Pando aspen clonal colony, which covers 106 acres as a single organism. Inevitably warm, the pieces are meant for gatherings and are rooted in experimental solidarity.
The lack of predictability in materials such as neon gas and other organic matter is a valuable characteristic, allowing the artwork autonomy and evolution over time. Her path into art-making was paved in graduate study of Japanese Modern and Contemporary Art History, with special attention to Mono-ha, Gutai, Jikken Kobo, and the avant-garde photography of Otsuji Kiyoji. Post-thesis, she continues to reflect on these collectives’ often-outdoor exhibition practices that created conversation between material autonomy, organic matter, play, poetic humanism, and, importantly, anti-fascism.
She has been featured in exhibitions at Dominique Gallery (LA), Two Six Eight Bowery (NYC), the Washington Project for the Arts (DC), Transformer (DC), VisArts (VA), the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (DC), George Washington University's Gallery 102 (DC) and CICA — the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (South Korea). Anahita earned an MA in Art History in 2015 on Japanese Modern and Contemporary Art from American University (Washington, DC), conducting primary research in Tokyo with the help of a Mellon Grant. She later assisted in the archives of the Smithsonian Freer & Sackler Galleries. During her time in DC, she co-founded Dirt: an accessible online platform for unconventional art criticism and intimate artist interviews.