M20 Hamburger Icon
Close this search box.

Mary Curtis Ratcliff: MOTION VARIATIONS

July 30th, 2021 – September 4th, 2021

In her first major solo exhibition since 2018, Mary Curtis Ratcliff presents Motion Variations comprised of three large kinetic sculptures and a series of two-dimensional works. The sculptures, Exoplanets and Technicolor Trees are kinetic, suspended works that incorporate natural imagery verging on abstraction: in the first, wave patterns, in the second, branches. A third new piece, Bay Fugue is the most recent and ambitious of the kinetic sculptures, comprising five suspended circular elements up to four feet in diameter, each hand painted on both sides.

Ratcliff’s sculpture explores the healing properties of art. Embodying the ephemeral qualities of nature and perception, they evoke calm, ease, and peace in the viewer. In 2018, she launched the website Healing Circle Artworks to explore the placement of art in hospitals and public spaces.

The two-dimensional works in Motion Variations are mostly from the series ScrapWorks, created during the COVID-pandemic quarantine. Unable to work with her usual printers and fabricators, Ratcliff turned to her own studio resources and found scraps with traces of digital printing on them in her flat file drawers: circles, corners and straight trimmings left over from earlier works, some of them saved for years.  The results are an entirely new series of over two dozen pieces made in the spring and summer of 2020, many being presented for the first time in this exhibition.

Exoplanets, 2019
Exoplanets, 2019, acrylic, colored pencil, Japanese ink brush pen and digital inkjet print on milky acetate, steel, monofilament 64 x 60 x 58 in. $4,250

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