The Healing Circle Project seeks to reach people in need of healing, and to support the practitioners who help them achieve positive personal recovery and resiliency through the introduction of nature-based artworks by Mary Curtis Ratcliff. Working with hospital art consultants and administrators, we determine where selected artworks may be placed for maximum benefit to the patients and their caregivers.
Like so many artists before me, I find that the shapes, patterns, shadows and reflections that spontaneously appear in nature have a formal simplicity and intricacy that both stimulates the mind and calms the emotions. The gentle movement of these kinetic works enhances their healing quality by the way it captures our gaze and soothes the spirit.
My goal in making Healing Circle Artworks is to connect people in public and private settings with their own inner wholeness, as mirrored through nature-based imagery that transcends the traumas of everyday life and helps them reach a state of greater centeredness and balance.
A 5' Relaxation Video for Patients and Health Care Workers
Knowing that hospital workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are always at risk of burnout and have little time for a break, I collaborated with James Baraz, co-founder of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, sound designer Jason Reinier of Earprint Immersive, and video editor Richard Robertson to produce a 5-minute video conducive to re-centering and resilience. Suitable for video walls, staff oases, and playback on workstations.
Testimonials from Healers & Architects
The healing kinetic works of Mary Curtis Ratcliff inspire us to remember our wholeness and better understand our inter-belonging with one another and the web of life. These healing circles offer the gifts of calm, ease, and peace.
Kathren Murrell Stevenson, Ph.D
These artistic Jellies, at once photography, painting and sculpture, embody the ephemeral qualities of Nature, perception, and life itself, by using light, color, transparency, and fluid images to invoke responses in the viewer akin to the joy of experiencing natural beauty.
Angus Macdonald, Architect
I believe that the piece subliminally invites people into a state of radical trust and surrender vis-à-vis its imagery.
Ahria Wolf, psychotherapist
Artist Profile: Mary Curtis Ratcliff
I have been a professional artist for many years, and my emphasis has always been on art as a vehicle for spiritual connection and healing. My current project, Healing Circle Artworks, brings this vocation to the fore. I am delighted to announce that the City of Berkeley has awarded me a Civic Arts Grant to help support my work in this field.
A bit of history: After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design and participating as a countercultural documentarian in an activist video collective (recently documented in the award-winning 2015 film Here Come the Videofreex, www.videofreexfilm.com), I came to California and picked up my sculpture practice again, creating large scale, airborne hoop-and-ribbon pieces that were placed in public settings and used in ceremonies of the early feminist goddess movement.
My vision has always been one of feminine empowerment expressed through dramatically simplified forms, close attention to craft and detail, and lightweight materials that I could handle myself, without having to resort to industrial processes, a foundry or a fork-lift!
Over the past twenty years, I have united my camera eye and studio practice in a series of 2-dimensional mixed media works on paper and panel, focusing on nature-based imagery that plays at the edge of abstraction while still retaining recognizable forms.
More recently, I have applied these images to rotating, free-floating circular forms, and found myself making kinetic sculptures once again, as when I first came to California—albeit with a difference: natural imagery is now an integral part of the works. It has been exciting to come back to kinetic, circular sculptures that are in constant change and evolution, even as the process vocabulary of photography, painting, drawing, transfer and collage comes into play.
Mary Curtis Ratcliff
B.F.A., Rhode Island School of Design
Awarded a City of Berkeley Civic Arts Grant for 2019–2020
2017 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, VA
2008 New Pacific Studio, Masterton, New Zealand
2005 Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France
2000 Gentoshiya, Shimabara, Japan
1999 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, VA
1997 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, VA
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2022 Casting Shadows, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
Encounters with Water and Light, 500 Terry Francois, San Francisco, CA
2021 Meditation with Trees, Siy Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Motion Variations, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
2020 Scrapworks, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland
2018 Circumference, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
2017 What Goes Around Comes Around, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
2016 Full Circle, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
2015 Arborescence: Art in the Vineyard, Moulds Family Vineyard, Napa, CA
2009 Patterns of Emergence, Hess Gallery, Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA
2006 Arborescence, Art Scape Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
2005 Surface Fancy, State of California Craft & Cultural Arts Gallery, Oakland, CA
2000 Ten Days in Shimabara, Gentoshiya Gallery, Shimabara, Japan
1994 Ritual Fashion, Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1993 Mary Curtis Ratcliff, University of the Pacific Gallery, Stockton, CA
1982 Ribbon Sculpture, Sonoma State University Library Gallery, Rohnert Park, CA
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2022 Mystic Landscape, Siy Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2021 4 x 8 Bridges, San Francisco, CA
Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers, Ruth’s Table, San Francisco, CA
Future Memories. Utopia Dystopia Nature., Singing Waves Gallery, City University, Hong Kong
Geometric Abstractions, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
2020 Dare, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
2019 Truth, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
Civic Center Art Exhibition, City of Berkeley City Hall, Berkeley, CA
Self-Portraits in the Age of Selfies, Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA
2018 The Sewing Room Project, Victoria Tierney and Her Collection, North Bend, OR
Generation: The 2018 UC Berkeley Art Alumni Exhibition, Worth Ryder Gallery
2015 Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art
2014 Civic Arts Exhibition, City of Berkeley City Hall, Berkeley, CA
2011 Of Water, The Bay Model, Sausalito, CA
Flow Patterns, The Atrium, San Francisco, CA
2008 Rhode Island School of Design Biennial, Oakland, CA
2007 SFMOMA Artists Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006 Local Color, Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France
2003 Sweet Tooth, Copia: The American Center for Food, Wine & the Arts, Napa, CA
2001 Groupe Mémoires, Galerie Dukan, Marseille, France
International Group Show, Osaka, Japan
1999 What is Art for? The Oakland Museum of California
1998 fem´ -i-nie, n… womankind, 621 Gallery, Tallahassee, FL
1997 Generations: 25 Years of A.I.R. Gallery, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY
Carving the forces of Change: Women’s Caucus for Art National 25th Anniversary
Exhibition, Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, IL
1995 Waste Not, Want Not, Waitakere Arts & Cultural Centre, Titirangi, New Zealand
In Three Dimensions: Women Sculptors of the ‘90s, Snug Harbor Cultural Center,
Staten Island, NY
1993 Crocker-Kingsley Annual, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
Vessels, The Upper Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
Her Art Works, Women’s Caucus for Art National Competition, South Bend Art Center,
South Bend, IN
1991 A.M.D.G., Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
1989 American Documentary Video: Subject to Change, Museum of Modern Art, NY;
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
1980 First International Festival of Women’s Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
1979 Shidoni Outdoor Sculpture Show, Tesuque, NM
1978 The Great Goddess Re-Emerging, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Fe Art Festival, Santa Fe, NM
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY (in alphabetical order by author)
“Art Up: Mary Curtis Ratcliff @ Mercury 20.” Berkeley Times. June 2022.
Anderton, Lucy. “Creating Connections in 2005.” La Gazette du Moulin à Nef, May 2006
Avril, Jean-Louis. “Le Groupe Mémoires: Retenir le passé… au present qui déjà fuit.” Univers des Arts, March 2001, pp. 41–43.
Bell, Camryn. “Mercury 20 Gallery’s ‘Self-Portraits in the Age of Selfies’.” The Daily Californian, January 27, 2019.
Boyle, Deirdre. Subject to Change: Guerilla Television Revisited. New York: Oxford Press, 1996
Boyd, Margy. The First Artists’ Soap Box Derby,official magazine. SFMMA, May 1975.
Cheng, DeWitt. “A Timeless Miscellany.” East Bay Express, January 2012
“Picks: McLennan/Ratcliff.” East Bay Express, Aug. 18, 2010
Cohn, Terri. Mirror, Mirror: Gender Roles and the Historical Significance of Beauty. Catalog. Oakland: California College of Arts & Crafts: 1994
Connor, Russell. Vision and Television. Catalog. Waltham, MA: Rose Art Gallery, 1970
Farmer, Don. “Artists in residence.” Wairarapa Times Age, New Zealand, Feb. 26, 2008, p. 5
Fateman, Johanna. “Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy,” The New Yorker, Nov. 14-20, 2018.
Frankenstein, Alfred. "Bringing the Whitney Home," San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 1975
Gafni, Matthias. “Take a trip to Ratcliff’s ‘Memory Park.’” Vallejo Times-Herald, May 5, 2000, C-1, 2.
Groupe Mémoires. Paris: Tiempo Editions, 2001.
Here Come the Videofreex. Feature-length film directed by Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin. Official selection at Full Frame, Rotterdam, and BAM Film Festivals; in theatrical release March 2016.
Hodara, Susan. “Before YouTube, Experimenting with Video. ‘Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television’ at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. The New York Times, March 1, 2015.
In Three Dimensions: Women Sculptors of the ’90s. Catalog. Staten Island: Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1995.
Ingall, Andrew. Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television.Catalog. New Paltz: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, 2015
Inquiring Mind 22:1 (Fall 2005): five artworks illustrated.
Kahori, Sakane. “WTC Exhibit Showcases for Int’l Artistic Talent.” The Daily Yomiuri, June 28, 2000.
Keogh, Tom. “TVTV: Video Revolutionaries.” Video Librarian, Vol. 34, Issue 1, 2019.
Kerr, Todd. “Berkeley Art Center Artists Member Showcase.” Berkeley Times, Jan. 2011.
Kluth, Mary Ann. “Jo Ann Biagini: Nature in Transition/Mary Curtis Ratcliff: Charismatic Fauna at Mercury 20 Gallery.”
Art Ltd Magazine, July 2013.
Littlejohn, David. Mary Curtis Ratcliff: Full Circle. San Francisco: Wonora Press, 2016.
Love, Barbara J. Feminists Who Changed America, 1963–1975. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2006, pp. 374–375.
Sachs, Kathleen. “Mary Curtis Ratcliff of Videofreex.” Cinefile, July 2019.
Sickler, Erin. “Mary Curtis Ratcliff and Parry Teasdale of Videofreex.” The Brooklyn Rail, Sept. 8, 2015
Steinheimer, Emma. “The Living Coillection: Abstraction, Shadow, Reflection.” Profile in Berkeley Times, May 7, 2015.
Tanguy, Sarah. Sweet Tooth. Catalog. Napa: Copia: The American Center for Food, Wine, and the Arts, 2003.
Thym, Jolene. “What is Art? What Are You?” Oakland Tribune, March 7, 1999. L-1,4.
Tripp, Stephanie. “From TVTV to YouTube: A Genealogy of Participatory Practices in Video.” Journal of Film and Video 64: 1–2
(Spring/Summer 2012): 5–16.
Woman Spirit. Wolf Creek, OR: September 1974. Feather Hoop illustrated.
Plus live Q&As at screenings of the documentary film Here Come the Videofreex at venues ranging from the IFC Film Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York to BAMPFA, The Roxie, and the East Bay Media Center in the SF Bay Area.
Artworks in over 100 public and private collections, including healing practitioners, The Fine Arts Museums of
San Francisco’s Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts and the Oakland Museum of California.