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Michele Ratté

For me art making is an energetic and inexplicable collaboration between matter, intention, and the unknowable. Much of my work is informed by a life-long fascination with marine environments (both current and ancient). Within that frame-work I explore ideas such as degradation, regeneration and transformation, micro-scapes and macro-scapes, density and weightlessness, fragility and endurance.  

I use geological and botanical sources, as well as direct experience of the seaside in many locations including Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the Chazy Fossil Reef Preserve on Isle La Motte, Vermont.

My methods integrate found-object gathering, drawing, printmaking, shaping and assembling. I like the synergy of linking dissimilar elements and coaxing materials into an unfamiliar setting.  I am also drawn to incorporating cast-off articles animated by the energy of their previous use or environment, such as beach rope, tangled fishing line, driftwood, stones, cast-away cloth, etc.

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.

Michele Ratté