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MPC Art Gallery Presents "Origins: Raw and Refined

Post Date:04/24/2017 6:13 PM


Origins: Raw and Refined

Victoria May and Rachelle Reichert

Mixed Media Installation and Salt Work

Please join us for a serene and subtle experience to view the lovely art of Victoria May (Santa Cruz) and Rachelle Reichert (San Francisco).

V.May-Refinement-install-webVictoria May has long established herself as one of the most innovative artists in California. Victoria May crafts conceptual objects and installations through the juxtaposition of disparate materials and processes. Awkward, unusual combinations such as fur and concrete, silk and rubber illustrate the tension between organic forces and human interventions to control them. These material investigations give a visceral sense of the dualities that permeate our lives, such as nature and institution, male and female, synthetic and organic. Materials and processes themselves become metaphors for resiliency or fragility.

Whether raw, fabricated or scavenged, May’s materials are always from humble sources. Through repurposed industrial surplus or thrift stores items, May comments on resourcefulness and reuse in the context of excess and planned obsolescence. She manipulates her materials in ways that vary from finely crafted to seemingly crude, often relying on sewing. Her objects tend to imply a sense of history or potential functionality.  The labor in simulating the mass-produced to the dilapidated reflects the irony and pathos of intention and ultimate futility. Her sometimes obsessive constructions underscore the absurdity in the societal tropes that are the object of her satire and contemplation.

Rachelle Reichert tells us. “I explore how materials shape past and present cultures and economies.  Salt is both my subject matter and medium. I make sculptures and drawings of salt by layering, dissolving, and crystallizing the harvested mineral. I am a student of its uses and cultural, spiritual, political, and economic histories.

I collect salt from the ever-changing shorelines of the South Bay marshes. The harvests require great attention to the subtle changes in humidity, temperature, and urbanization of the Bay Area.  The works bring forth the physical qualities of landscape that are often disregarded at a time when technology seeks to accelerate and disembody human experience. Large works present raw salt harvested from the Bay. Traces of human presence are included in the works. Upon close looking, one will notice tiny insidious scraps of plastic alongside organic material. Salt blocks are carved by rainwater yet the human hand appears in the form and structure of the block itself.  The corrosive capacity of the material is illuminated in salt/rust drawings and cold-pressed steel frames around the salt.  The works ask for the viewer’s attention to surface and detail to recall larger processes that declare a primordial tempo and physicality."

About the salt: 

Salt is a key mineral of the Bay Area where I live. Since 1854, salt collection has been a major industry. Salt evaporation ponds owned by Cargill Salt line the San Francisco Bay, producing over 500,000 tons of sea salt a year. The encroachment by agriculture and urbanization have minimized the San Francisco Bay to approximately seventy percent. In 2003, Cargill Salt sold 15,000 acres of its salt ponds to the public for wetland restoration. Long before Cargill harvested salt it is said that the Ohlone Indians would offer salt as a sign of peace and friendship when meeting with other tribes.

Exhibit Dates: April 24 - May 25, 2017


 MPC Art Gallery, 980 Fremont St., Monterey
Hours: Monday - Thursday 11:00am - 4:00pm
(or by appointment; call 646-3060)


  • Thursday, May 4, 12:30 – 2:00 PM (ARTISTS’ TALK 1:00 PM) 

Admission to exhibit is free on, all are welcome!.

** MPC parking fee: $2 on weekdays. **

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