Rosemary mayer 1973 galla placidia scaled 1800x1200 c center

Rosemary Mayer: Ways of Attaching

Cov­er­ing thir­ty years of Mayer’s artis­tic prac­tice from 1970s to 1990s, this exhi­bi­tion is the first time Mayer’s work has ever been shown in the UK

08/10/22 – 15/01/23
Opening Times
Sunday, 12:00 – 17:00
Mon–Tue, Closed
Wed–Sat, 12:00 – 17:00
The exhibition includes emblematic works including large fabric sculptures, travel diaries and fleeting performances of the 1970s through to pastels, watercolours and other works on paper from the 1990s. Highlighting Mayer’s formal interest in draping, knotting and tethering, the show focuses on the construction of real and imagined networks, in which friends and historical figures feature in expressions of affinity and attachment.

Born in Brooklyn and based in New York City all her life, Mayer studied classics before pursuing art; an influence that persists throughout her work, which is populated by references to historical figures, artworks and writing, from medieval literature to Mannerist painting. In 1972, Mayer co-founded A.I.R., the first not-for-profit, artist-directed gallery for women artists in the United States. It was there that she mounted a solo show of fabric sculptures titled after women from the Middles Ages and Antiquity including Galla Placidia (1973) – the regent of the Western Roman Empire and Hroswitha (1972-73) – the early medieval poet Hrotsvit of Gandersheim. Ways of Attaching marks the first time that these sculptures have been displayed together since.

Also included in the exhibition are works on paper, photographs and documentation relating to Mayer’s performances of the late 1970s which she called “temporary monuments”. Incorporating materials such as weather balloons, ribbons and snow, these ephemeral works were shaped by a unique lexicon connecting sites to time, drawing together the grounded and the cosmic.

Ways of Attaching marks the most comprehensive presentation of Mayer’s artistic practice to date, and the first time her work has ever been shown in the UK. The title is purposefully equivocal: Attaching is not only a method for binding materials together, but also for establishing emotional connections with friends and peers, past and present, which was central to Mayer’s understanding of art.