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Mary Curtis Ratcliff: Aviary – Reception & Artist Talk

April 6 @ 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Artists’ Reception: Saturday, April 6, 3 – 6 pm
Artist Talks: April 6, 3:30 – 4:00

Growing up in the Michigan woods with a mother who was a birdwatcher and a father who hunted ducks, Mary Curtis Ratcliff was fascinated from an early age, by birds, wings, and flight. It was only recently, looking back over her fifty-year art career, that she realized that at every stage of her work birds and flight showed up, taking on the different forms and techniques of her successive aesthetic experiments and styles. Aviary gives a core sample of these various phases as it explores birds and flight. It features bas relief, drawing, painting, collage, kinetic sculpture, and photo transfer — all united by wonder and reverence for winged creatures.

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. Since 1999, Ratcliff has 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 last six years, Ratcliff has returned to circular, kinetic sculptures that incorporate her photography. Ratcliff’s artwork has been shown in over 150 exhibitions around the world and is in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She lives and works in Berkeley, CA.


April 6
3:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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Mercury 20 Gallery
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Mercury 20 Gallery
475 25th Street
Oakland, CA 94612 United States
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