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


Mary Curtis Ratcliff

Mary Curtis Ratcliff majored in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1960s, and then moved to New York, where she was a founding member of the radical collective Videofreex. After her move to California in 1973, Ratcliff’s wind sculptures and ceremonial pieces were used in the early eco-feminist movement; later works continued to unite fabric and craft with a sculptural sense of design. Beginning in 1999, Ratcliff concentrated primarily on 2-dimensional work, integrating photography, drawing, painting, and image transfer techniques in multi-layered, intricate explorations of nature, pattern and perception. Over the past five years, she has returned to circular, kinetic sculptures that now incorporate her photographic imagery.

Ratcliff’s artwork has been shown in well over one hundred exhibitions around the world. It is represented locally in the collections of 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. She lives and works in Berkeley, CA and is a member of both Oakland’s Mercury 20 Gallery and the Siy Gallery in San Francisco.