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Mary Curtis Ratcliff: CASTING SHADOWS

June 17th - July 23rd, 2022


Mary Curtis Ratcliff’s latest show of new works, Casting Shadows is comprised of kinetic and wall-mounted sculptures and features the circular form, a major element of Ratcliff’s work since the early 1970s. Many of the suspended works result from Ratcliff’s experimentation with colored shadow. Using Pēbēo paint and alcohol ink, she is able to make pieces that casts shadows with a breadth of unrestrained color.


Ratcliff’s work plays on the edge of abstraction and reality. Tropical fish, water, flowers, and pelicans are juxtaposed, repeated, and recolored with surprising effects. The images in the work are sourced from photographs taken by Ratcliff, who is continually stimulated by the shapes, patterns, shadows and reflections that spontaneously appear in nature.


Mary Curtis Ratcliff was a sculpture student at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1960s. She then went on to become a founder of the Videofreex, a pioneering experimental video collective in New York. Eventually moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, she has explored sculpture, mixed media, and two-dimensional work. Ratcliff’s work has been in over 30 solo exhibitions and more than 150 group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, New Zealand, China and Japan and is in the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Oakland Museum of California.

Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Spirals (2022), Pēbēo paint on plexiglass, monofilament, 12 x 32 x 12 inches, photo by the artist.

Available Work

Mcr At The Studio In Hoop M20portrait

Mary Curtis Ratcliff

Mary Curtis Ratcliff studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and then participated in the early video movement in New York City, from 1969 to 1972. Ratcliff’s fifty-year career has seen her explore many different media including kinetic and freestanding sculpture and 2D photo-based mixed media, often using imagery stemming from nature. Her artwork has been featured in over thirty solo exhibitions and more than one hundred and thirty group shows.  Her work is represented in the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Oakland Museum of California.


Mercury 20 Gallery

475 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612
Tel: 510-701-4620

Gallery hours: Friday + Saturday: 12-5pm and by appt