Rosemary Mayer: Rods Bent Into Bows – Fabric Sculptures and Drawings 1972-1973 — at ChertLüdde

Rosemary Mayer
Fabric Sculptures and Drawings 1972-1973
Ritterstrasse 2A, 10969 Berlin
4 September – 19 December 2020

Rods Bent Into Bows – Fabric Sculptures and Drawings 1972-1973 is the first solo exhibition of Rosemary Mayer (b.1943, New York – 2014) in Europe. The title takes its name from notes found on one of Mayer’s sketches, one of many drawings she made for the planning and documenting of her sculptures. This exhibition is the first time since the 1970s that much of this work is being shown and includes some drawings which will be on display for the first time. The show focuses on a critical point in her production, 1972–1973, during which Mayer actualized her fabric sculptures and related drawings, a body of work for which she is most known.

Between 1969 and 1973, Mayer’s art developed from conceptual works, including abstract studies of color, into sculptures experimenting with the medium of fabric and its mutable possibilities of form. She began working with fabric in 1970, initially by deconstructing paintings, removing the canvas from stretchers and exploring the possibilities of canvas on its own. By 1972 she was working with various fabrics, determining new combinations and modes of display. Balancing (1972) epitomizes this important period of experimentation. It is composed of two bent acrylic rods, suspended by cords to create sail-like shapes upon which Mayer has draped and attached fabric in shades of pink. 

In an unpublished article from 1973, Mayer explains her attraction to the material:  “Like liquids and natural phenomenon, fabric too is subject to gravity and natural forces. Its forms are accidental and inevitable. Like waves in water or leaves on trees, in reality fabric forms are never the same. Only when reproduced in a two dimensional medium can fabric forms be seen still and definite. Fabric is a man-made substance which shares the visual characteristics of natural phenomena.”

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