Rosemary Mayer, Hroswitha, 1973, Flannel, rayon, nylon netting, fiberglass rayon, ribbon, dyes, wood, acrylic paint, 295 × 175 × 30 cm
Hroswitha is a large, sweeping fabric sculpture that hangs like a curtain from the ceiling. Richly hued in scarlet, black, and trimmed in gold and red, the work inevitably evokes the theatrical stage.
Mayer wrote, “The title refers to Hroswitha, a German Latin poet of Gandersheim in Saxony. The nuns of Hroswitha’s convent performed her plays for the court of Theophano (of Byzantium) and Otto I, c. 980. Hroswitha originated the themes of Faust and Romeo and Juliet.”
“Hroswitha”was the first of three large scale sculptures constructed with bent wooden rods, including “Catherines” and “Galla Placidia”. This underlying structure allowed Mayer to move away from wall and project the fabric into space.
Hroswitha was exhibited in Mayer’s first solo show, at A.I. R Gallery in April of 1973. An image of Hriswotha announcing her show was published in the Village Voice.
In addition to showing Hriswotha at A.I.R. Gallery, she exhibited it at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH, in the fall of 1973, a large group show called “Options 73/30” that explored the “area of painting as it moves from its more traditional forms in the realm of object which retains the wall as referent.” The show included several important women artists such as Linda Benglis, Mary Heilman, and Hannah Wilke.