Above: Mayme Kratz, Everything That Rises After the Fire, 2023, resin, San Felipe dyssodia, cicada wings on panel, 60″ x 108″
March 4 – April 29, 2023
Opening Reception with Mayme Kratz
Saturday, March 4, 2023
1:00 – 3:00 pm
The artist Mayme Kratz travels extensively in the American wilderness; hiking, walking, and camping in wild places as well as traversing urban sidewalks near her home, collecting grasses, seeds, chaff, bones, shells, and stems. Kratz then arranges these collections in striking and atmospheric panels of cast resin, a material that is notoriously difficult to work with. Encased in the slow-drying, translucent resin, the artist’s exquisite and carefully positioned pieces of the natural world become expressive and poignant, forming a fascinating geometry of life. An exhibition of recent works by Mayme Kratz will open at Lisa Sette Gallery on March 4th, on view at the gallery through April 29th, 2023.
Witnessing profound changes in the natural world due to human choices, Kratz interrogates her parallel emotional transformation, as she continues to create artwork in the Anthropocene era of memory and loss. Vanishing Light, a recent series of works, deals with this journey through darkness. Kratz remarks, “Vanishing Light is what I see with my eyes closed as I fall asleep at night. It is also about our disappearing landscape and wildlife.”
In these works, compositions of grasses, bones, and tiny shells expand outward in circular bursts that pulsate and illuminate against background hues of midnight and dusk. Within this darkness, a connection becomes brilliantly visible: life as we know it on earth is in fact a variety of arrangements of cosmic components–stardust and dark matter in a tension that humans observe only briefly, in the blink of an eye or as the fading traces of a dream. Kratz’s work witnesses the wild glory of life as we momentarily perceive it, as well as the ever-present specter of disappearance.
Kratz remarks that she has “a continuous awareness of time…the endless cycles of change and rebirth in nature.” The artist explores this phenomena in a unique visual language that speaks of abundance, change, and loss. In Dark Garden, another of the artist’s recent series, “started as a memory of laying in the landscape at dusk as a child–a dense view of looking out toward the sky through the foliage thick with secrets such as snakes and insects and mystery. This series as well seems to carry the burden of what is disappearing as we witness and experience climate change.” Works in the Dark Garden series frequently feature streaked or obscured backgrounds, in which organic gatherings blend or recede into the strange, dreamlike depths of the subconscious.
An artist whose practice involves poetry as well as peregrination, Kratz refers to the work of writer Devorah Major, whose poem We Are This Place lists the myriad ways in which humans are expressions of biological life, with the agency to direct its course:
our bodies are
the seed and ash of this place
we are not merely the caretakers of this place
we are this place, this place of gold and silt
In the works of Mayme Kratz, a poetic documentation of the natural world and recent changes wrought upon it becomes a necessary stage in the process of repair: “I feel as though every piece I work on is a sort of mending of our connection with nature.”