Sargent Johnson Gallery, African American Art & Cultural Complex

Jan 17 – March 24, 2019


Working with hard rigid wire, Kristine Mays has captured the softness and femininity of women while at the same time revealing strength, perseverance and resilience. The work captures the physical nature of a woman as well as the essence and soul within as Kristine Mays breathes life into wire. Inspired by Nina Simone’s song “Four Women” and the poems of Nayyirah Waheed, Maya Angelou and a few other great female authors, this exhibition carries themes of multiple identities, love, community, survival, life and pain. This exhibition explores the reality of how we see ourselves and others.

Artist statement
Sculpted from thousands of pieces of wire hooked and looped together, each of Kristine Mays’ garments embodies a fleeting gesture or expression that delivers a message of strength while challenging how we view ourselves and others. An invisible occupant revealed through the sculpted folds and wrinkles of a garment. A strong female spirit shines forth in the dichotomy of what is revealed. Each sculpture is accompanied by a narrative – usually a quote or remark that adds to the context of the work.
The sculptures look fragile and soft and yet are solid and strong, reminiscent of a foundation of sorts. Within the confines of hard metal wire is a sense of resilience and perseverance — a need to push forward and thrive. The work speaks to identity– the question of who we are and what we can do with our lives, the impact our lives have on the world.

Kristine Mays has been breathing life into wire since 1993 as she creates life-size wire sculptures that reveal the human form. A San Francisco, California native, Kristine has raised thousands of dollars for AIDS research through the sale of her work. In addition, she has worked with organizations like ArtSpan (creators of the SF Open Studios program), RUSH Philanthropic, Visual Aid, and the UCSF – San Francisco Alliance Health Project. Her work has received local and national press including mentions in the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, and The Washington Post, and Apartment Therapy. She is represented by Simon Breitbard Fine Arts in San Francisco, Richard Beavers Gallery in Brooklyn, and the Zenith Gallery in Washington D.C. She has exhibited and participated in programming at the De Young Museum, MoAD -Museum of African diaspora and the California African American Museum . Collectors of her work include an eclectic mix of people including George Lucas and his wife Melody Hobson and collector Peggy Cooper Cafritz, with her work displayed in many SF Bay Area Homes and private collections throughout the United States.

Sargent Johnson Gallery, African American Art & Cultural Complex , 762 Fulton St. San Francisco, CA