Daria Sandburg is a Pittsburgh-based multi-media artist. Using found historical objects, sculpted metal work, fused glass, and narrative brought meaningfully together to form a new coherent whole, Sandburg gives form to time and memory by visually creating a quiet glimpse into a worn, personal history. Sandburg's objects are not meant to be perceived in isolation from her artistic process. The materials she selects are intended to awaken within the viewer the value of daily experience and the connection between the universal and the individual organically. Her works often contain hidden treasures. Open a jar to find a pendant, unravel fabric to find hidden text. Sandburg fosters imagination by creating a participatory experience between her artwork and the viewer.
In the summer of 2015, Sandburg took to the streets with her self-initiated social practice project, “Baggage Claim”, an artistic community experience of sharing stories, burning up the drek, letting go, and using hope to fuel new possibilities. It’s a strange weight to carry – both metaphorically and very literally. Sandburg’s worn, shiny metal case is painted with a series of intriguing messages. A quote from Kate Tempest: “That thing you weep for, leave it,” and one from Carl Sandburg: “What is this load I carry out of yesterday?” The ends of the case have the instructions Got baggage? Leave it here. Sandburg honors every one of the case’s painted instructions with an invitation for whoever accepts to leave their messages in the form of short hand-written notes on scraps of multicolored paper.
The baggage claim tickets cover the full gamut of guilt, regret, fear, and much more. Markers of love and love lost, admissions of poor choices, addiction, and anxieties of every shade are stowed in the case. And while there’s a level of repetition and predictability to many of the entries, the format of one real human having submitted her or his expression in their own hand, in person, directly to Sandburg’s protective case makes each one unique, special, and often tragic. When the claims get deeper, more personal, they can be outright devastating. Take my lies, one reads, or My father’s suicide, or Letting where I missed be the measure of my life, or She was abused, now he’s dead. No guilt. Over the last two years, hundreds have taken Sandburg up on the offer to share their claim. In 2017, Sandburg expanded the “Baggage Claim” to include her new series River of Blues. Boats made of cast glass, fibers, and sculpted metal sail down a river of broken blue glass. Tiny suitcases, made from sculpted metal, are usually anchored to boats or ladders. Sandburg’s intention is to call attention to our shared journey, to amplify our voices and bring people together. At the end of Sandburg’s River of Blues rests her “Dreamboat”, a larger, assemblage object for participants to place hopes and dreams for the future.
Born in Rock Island Illinois, Sandburg was the co-founder of Bohemia Gallery in Tucson Arizona where she curated exhibitions while making her own artwork. In 2012, she moved to Pittsburgh for her residency exhibition, “In Her Own Words”, at Borelli-Edwards Galleries. In the 2013 “35th Annual Frank Sticks Exhibit” at Glenn Eure Gallery in Nags Head North Carolina, Sandburg's artwork received top honors with the Best of Show Award. In 2014, Sandburg's artwork was selected to appear in the Lions Gate motion picture The Last Witch Hunter. Her artwork has been exhibited at Aqua Art Miami 2016, 2017, and 2018, and Superfine! Art Fair NY 2017 and DC 2018, and LA Art Show 2018 and 2019.