Kristine Mays: Threads of Existence Art Opening (SF)
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MODERNISM INC., | 724 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
Submitted by the Event Organizer
When Kristine Mays first saw “Revelations”, Alvin Ailey’s iconic modern ballet, she was moved by the bodies in motion, and Ailey’s transposition to the stage of his experiences growing up as an African-American in segregated Texas. Ailey gave choreographic expression to physical labor on plantations and the spiritual work of the Baptist church. As a contemporary African-American sculptor, Mays was inspired to attempt an even more radical transformation, capturing these kinds of physical and spiritual movement in thousands of interconnected strands of wire.
Mays has developed her unique sculptural method over more than a decade. Initially exploring the sculptural qualities of beading wire she encountered as a jeweler, she has transitioned to monumental figures, each handmade by bending rebar ties with pliers. Each piece takes at least sixty hours of labor during which she gives form to a human body or garment without reliance on a mold or model. Especially remarkable are the gestural qualities that make the works appear both animate and soulful. “I am breathing life into wire,” she says. “With each work, I create a form that reveals the essence of a person and that speaks to humanity as a whole.”
Modernism is pleased to present Mays’ wire sculptures in “Threads of Existence”, her first one-person exhibition with the gallery. All of the works reference African-American heritage or her own lived experience as a Black woman born and raised in San Francisco. They can be appreciated in purely formal terms in the figurative tradition of Antony Gormley, and their technical virtuosity is in the same league as the wire sculptures of Ruth Asawa. However, Mays’ work can also be fiercely political, an eloquent expression of feminism akin to Anselm Kiefer’s powerful new “Femmes Martyres” sculpture series, and an equally powerful sculptural statement of anti-racism.
The public is invited to an opening reception for the artist Thursday, July 7, from 6:00-8:00pm.