A passionate wanderer and garden lover, Mayme Kratz creates sculptures using found organic fragments, desert ephemera and resin. Foraging the landscape on hikes through the high deserts of the American Southwest or in her own backyard, she collects seeds, flower pods, bones, wings, vertebrae, shells, as well as birds’ nests, twigs and branches--all dried and preserved in the harsh desert environment.
With great reverence for the natural world, Kratz creates cast resin pieces of fragile beauty locked in fluid translucent resin. The artist embeds her found objects, sometimes spliced or broken apart and arranged in precise patterns, in luminous, cast-resin wall panels and vessels. Kratz sands and grinds the surface of her panels until the interior structure of her gathered materials gradually emerge as abstract lines, circles, and spirals that reveal a kinship to the vastness of the ocean or night sky. Often cyclical in composition, her hauntingly beautiful sculptural and two-dimensional resin works reflect themes of beauty, memory and longing.
“I live in the center of a city, in the middle of a desert surrounded on all sides by the enormity of the horizon. The environment is harsh. Everything is exposed. Nothing is hidden. I walk and forage in the dusty, hot landscape, collecting seeds, bones and other odd bits that most might overlook. My walks reveal fragile ecosystems, strange beauty – insights in detritus. What I see in these intimate viewings finds its way into my dreams. Dreams lead to poems. Poems lead me to what I create. I hope to bring a focus, a new way of seeing, a new life to the objects I find. My collected specimens -- ephemera preserved, protected -- celebrate the endless cycles of change and rebirth in nature.” Mayme Kratz, 2016
Self-educated as an artist and focused on her creative life at an early age, she apprenticed with artist James Hubbell in her early twenties. Kratz was a visiting artist at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, and was awarded a residency at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.
In 2011, Kratz was the recipient of a mid-career award and exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum. Her work has also been featured in exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Tucson Museum of Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Tacoma Museum of Glass; and the Blue Star Art in San Antonio, Texas. Mayme Kratz’s work is in the collection of the Phoenix Art Museum and many private and public collections throughout the United States.