Lidya Buzio: Ceramics
Cecilia de Torres, Ltd, 2012
Forward by Cecilia de Torres and essay by Garth Clark
Paperback. 147 pages. 7.75 x 9 inches.
This book has a curious perfection to it; it is a closed loop that mirrors the self-contained autonomy that Lidya Buzio’s ceramics demonstrate.
Firstly, the essay that anchors the catalog by Garth Clark (who is the Chief Editor of CFile) is a detailed, intimate, and comprehensive examination of Buzio’s art. Actually, the essay explores how her life and art are intertwined and the insights are born out when you study her ceramics. Along with his partner Mark Del Vecchio, Clark represented Buzio through Garth Clark Gallery for over 20 years, beginning in the early 80’s. Cecilia de Torres is Buzio’s current gallerist, and the force behind this catalog, as well as being her sister.
Secondly, the visuals are stunning: the object photography is luscious and the book’s proportions perfectly frame the ceramics. Buzio’s work is modestly sized, but has a scale and impact that knows no bounds. Many of the works are represented true to size or at half to three-quarters size, which makes for astonishing detail. This book is almost as good as being with the work itself—almost. This could be attributed to the sensitive graphic design and the excellent photography but largely the feeling that you are in the presence of the work itself must be attributed to Buzio. Her unique combination of perspectival surface drawings that compound and contradict the hyper-precise clay forms creates the sensation that volumes have been “doubled up,” which results in the ceramics leaping off the page.
Buzio was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1948. She grew up down the street from the Torres-García family, the two families were close and even joined by marriage. Joaquin Torres-García was South America’s greatest modernist artist. About 10 years after returning from Europe, where he was deep into the avant-guard, he formed the studio, Taller Torres-Garcia (TTG), in 1943. It promoted his Constructivist Universalist aesthetic and abstraction and it was here that Buzio began her art studies as a child. She worked particularly closely with master ceramicist José Collell; and, even today, she is evolving the techniques he taught that are based on ancient Amerindian practices.
She begins by cutting earthenware slabs into geometric shapes, and then combining these cylinders, cones, and hemispheres to form the body of her sculptures. Using special pigments, which she mixes herself, Buzio draws and paints directly onto her unfired works. Before firing, Buzio burnishes her pieces; this step serves to fuse the paint into the clay and results in the unique luminosity and distinctive hues that characterize her artworks. Lastly, she seals the surface with a coat of wax.
In 1972 Buzio moved to New York City and her ceramics became direct reflections of her surroundings. The relatively diminutive pieces loom as large as the buildings, rooflines, and architectural details they depict. Buzio’s move to the North Fork of Long Island in 1997 prompted another change in subject, to that of seaports and coastal villages. Due to Buzio’s genius for integrating pictorial forms into compelling ceramic volumes, the surface painting never feels illustrative and the color is too arresting to ever submit to a cursory read. In 2010 she began the latest direction in her practice, abstraction. The continued presence of nature may have precipitated this shift. Thankfully, representation is all that she dropped, the clarity of her forms and the depth and vitality of her color has only increased.
Lidya Buzio has shown extensively in the U.S and internationally. Her work is in numerous private collections and international museums including the Painting & Sculpture Collection of the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums; the Honoloulou Academy of Art, Hawaii; the Victoria & Albert, London; National Museum of History, Taipei City, Taiwan.
Amy Albracht is the General Editor of CFile.