Mary Curtis Ratcliff: Full Circle

April 7th – May 14th, 2016


In Mary Curtis Ratcliff‘s current body of work, we find the synthesis of concerns and techniques spanning her entire career. In her 2-dimensional, photo-based pieces she has frequently been drawn to the tondo form. Now these images in their circles are once again coming off the wall, suspended from the ceiling, echoing the kinetic movements of the hoops and ribbons of her early career. Rings of clouds float and rotate slowly. Airborne forest triptychs gleam and refract, catching the light in a constantly recombinant pattern. Meanwhile, other circles remain flat and wall-borne, in multi-part arrays that speak to the perpetually unfinished business of seeing, and the suggestiveness of the open work.

These new works, both those on the wall and the ones that rotate in shared space with the viewer, speak of Mary Curtis’s own continuity as a person and an artist-and the durability of her primary concerns: natural phenomena; the dance of light and shadow as it treads the line between representation and abstraction; how energy ripples through the world, and comes to inhabit and animate physical forms. From the beginning, Ratcliff’s art has made such mysterious magic visible.

Mary Curtis Ratcliff studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been featured in over twenty solo exhibitions and 100 group shows. It is included in over eighty private collections, with representation locally at the Oakland Museum of California and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She has participated in residencies in the United States, France, Japan, and New Zealand. Ratcliff lives and works in Berkeley, CA and is a member of Oakland’s Mercury 20 Gallery and SFMOMA Artists Gallery.