Sarah Brayer is an internationally acclaimed artist who works in print and paper mediums. Based in Kyoto, Japan, she is known for her aquatints and poured washi paperworks. From celestial explorations to snow-covered Kyoto streets, she imbues her work with a meditative spirit. Brayer is the author of several publications and her work can be found in collections such as the British Museum, National Museum of Asian Art of the Smithsonian, and Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
Born in Rochester, New York, Brayer received her BA in studio arts from Connecticut College, after which she moved to Kyoto. There she studied etching from Yoshiko Fukuda and traditional woodblock printing with the renowned Toshi Yoshida. In 1986, she opened her first studio in an old kimono weaving loft in northern Kyoto. Brayer’s career has been distinguished with many impressive honors. In 1992, she was the first artist to exhibit at Byodo-in Temple, a world heritage site, as part of Kyoto’s 1200-year celebration. In 2007, she was the first foreign cover artist for Tokyo’s annual CWAJ Contemporary Print Show. In 2012, Brayer discussed her unique work in Japanese paper and light at TED in Tokyo. The following year, Japan’s Ministry of Culture recognized Brayer’s explorations with washi (Japanese paper) with the Commissioner’s Award (Bunkacho Chokan Hyosho), applauding her for the international dissemination of Japanese culture. In 2021, she returned to a temple setting with Inner Light, a solo exhibition at Kyoto's Komyo-in Temple (a sub-temple of Tofukuji).
Over the past decade, Sarah Brayer has developed the use of phosphorescence in her ongoing washi paperworks series Luminosity. Powered by light exposure, these captivating works have two faces–one of the light, and one of the dark. In Brayer's words, "these images show us the place where something appears out of nothing and the returns to it; taking us to the edge of visual perception."