Hobson & Lucas At Scope Art Fair

(From left) Frances Guichard, Kristine Mays, George Lucas, Andre GuichardOn March 7, 2015, Star Wars film director and Strange Magic producer George Lucas and his partner, Mellody Hobson, chair of Ariel Investments, attended the SCOPE NYC Art Show and purchased a powerfully poignant piece by Kristine Mays: four dresses fashioned from wire representing the four girls who perished in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham.

The historical significance and spirit of the Four Souls of Birmingham sculpture impressed Hobson and Lucas.  Some of the funds from their $10,000 acquisition may be paid forward. Kristine Mays has raised thousands of dollars for AIDS research through the sale of her work. 

The couple also commissioned Mays to create two more wireframe dresses because the sculpture reminds them of their seven-month old daughter, Everest.  

Kristine Mays, Four Souls of Birmingham (detail)The Four Souls of Birmingham wire sculpture was part of the SCOPE exhibit organized by Russell/Danny Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation in association with the Bombay Sapphire company. The exhibit presented the work of the San Francisco artist Mays as part of the support she receives as the national grand finale winner of the 5th Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition. Mays was named winner at the national competition show at Art Basel Miami in December 2014. The national and SCOPE exhibitions were organized by Andre Guichard.  

Mellody Hobson and Kristine Mays at Scope exhibitionKristine Mays wire dress sculpture (from artist's portfolio; not on view in the exhibition)Using hundreds of individual pieces of wire, Kristine Mays creates garment forms that not only make statements about the bodies that wear them, but also represent that which is beneath the surface of those bodies and beyond them: the spirit or soul. Mays' sinuous, longer, women's dresses show her remarkably facile technique in making the hard wire resemble supple, soft cloth folds.

Her work is reminiscent of, yet distinctly different from, that of pioneering African American artist Hayward Oubre (1916-2003). Oubre ingeniously manipulated wire clothes hangers to create scultural human, animal and abstract forms.  

Launched in 2010 by Russell & Danny Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation and Bombay Sapphire gin, the annual Artisan Series program is a nationwide search for the next big name in visual arts, with a focus on emerging artists of color.  Each year, a handful of finalists are selected from thousands of online submissions and local gallery events to actually showcase their works in front of the world’s top art critics and buyers during Art Basel Miami. In celebration of the program’s “5th Year” milestone, as well as RUSH’s 20th Anniversary, for the first time this year, creators of the top three pieces from the Grand Finale are participating in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series mural project in each of their hometowns during the spring.

A related IRAAA+ article is here.