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Michele Ratté — Flower of Time: Affinities

Michele Ratté

Octiber 27 - November 27

For me art making is an energetic and inexplicable collaboration between matter, intention, and the unknowable. 

Much of my sculpture is informed by a life­long fascination with marine environments (current and ancient). Within that framework I explore ideas such as degradation, regeneration and transformation, micro­ and macroscapes, density and weightlessness, fragility and endurance. Central to my work is the mutability of light and color (radiant energy), fluidity of movement, and pulse of repeated patterns.

I am often asked about the use of precious metal in my work. Gold is an ultimate material: inextinguishable, reflective, symbolic and metaphoric. Inevitably gold communicates its history­ its formation deep within the earth’s body by forces and in a time frame beyond our grasp. It is a material carrying the freight of our human dance with it. "The shimmer of Michele Ratté's gold-infused sculptures and prints is not just decorative veneer. Precious, permanent, and pure, in her hands gold is not just a physical material  but a transcendent one. It is an ideal medium for cross-referencing the natural and archetypical cycles of birth, death, and rebirth that frame our existence on this planet." Elizabeth Michelman, Artscope Magazine, September 2016

The series of etchings in this show are related to the woven wire elements in some of my sculptures. For an example see Ocean Flower in Gallery II. As I fabricate the woven wire structures I photograph them along the way, making compositional choices, capturing images/entities in two dimensions, independent of the final three­dimensional realization. To obtain the final image for each etching, I draw into the photographs by digital means, and by hand.

Pertinent to this body of work are geological and botanical sources, direct experience of the seaside, and research at the Chazy Fossil Reef Preserve on Isle La Motte, Vermont. My methods integrate found­object gathering, drawing, printmaking, shaping and assembling. Malleable, delicate elements (precious metals, soft materials, etc.) are joined with objects of substance (stones, shells, bells, wire, etc.). I like the synergy of linking dissimilar elements and coaxing materials into an unfamiliar setting. I am also drawn to incorporating cast­off articles animated by the energy of their previous use or environment, such as fishing wire tangled by the sea.

—Michele Ratté