Lost Light

If you live in San Francisco, the landscape you experience on a daily basis is very likely hillsides densely dotted with three to five-story buildings, only barely visible through our thick fog. In this environment it is a great pleasure when someone brings a taste of another region, and currently we have a privileged taste of Arizona, seen through the eyes and work of artist Mayme Kratz.

Earlier this July 2015, Kratz’s solo show “Lost Light” featured the latest in her series of resin wall works at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery near Union Square in San Francisco. Carefully straddling the boundary between imagery and sculpture, Kratz’s work seems to be part of an ongoing exploration to catalog and discover untapped forms and characteristics offered by her desert environment of Arizona. Based out of Phoenix, Kratz’s work features found natural objects which have been manipulated, worked, beautifully composed, and cast in resin on wall-hung panels. The work is best experienced in person, when from a distance a piece that appears to be an ethereal cosmic image turns out to be a mix of pigments, shells, seeds, and snake vertebrae cast in a resin haze. Each piece is full of remarkable depth– both literal and figurative– which is often only clear upon close inspection. Photography alone generally does not do the work justice.



The Dolby Chadwick Gallery did a remarkable job of curating the small exhibition, essentially grouping works between two separate spaces. The large main gallery space housed some of the artist’s more traditional pieces, or the types of work many will quickly recognize as her iconic compositions. Here you saw color circular compositions of grasses, deer bones with snake vertebrae, and seed pods cast into large panels. Through the process of sanding and subtraction, the artist removes material, rendering many of these objects unrecognizable, but gives us new information and insight into the properties of the materials. The adjacent room included some recent, more “cosmic” works, with less controlled, ethereal compositions that seem to bounce between a molecular or interstellar scale of imagery. These pieces, while using new materials for the artist like collected seashells, only expand upon her understanding and manipulation of desert objects. They seem to serve as a reminder that the Sonoran Desert in fact abuts the Gulf of California.

Written By: Patrick Bradley
Image Sources: Dolby Chadwick Gallery