SANTA FE, New Mexico—As a partner to Garth Clark’s reviews of Gustavo Perez’ Gustavo Perez’s Autorretrato (Self Portrait) at the Museo de Antropología de Xalapa, (Xalapa Museum of Anthropology) Veracruz, Mexico, (read it here) we present an imagescape of his current installation, Lines, at Peters Projects (September 8 – November 4, 2017).
Also, don’t forget to check out Cfile’s current Pop-Up Shop featuring entrancing works by Perez.
These exceptional works were all culled from Autorretrato and represent as the title suggests, six lines of inquiry, snakes of pots from the same style and period with which Perez assembled and wove his massive 5,000 object exhibition. It is curated by Clark, Cfile’s founder, (who is also responsible for the installation design) working in collaboration with Mark Del Vecchio, Curator of Ceramics and Design at Peters Projects.
As Clark writes in his review:
Perez works in stoneware which is unusual in Mexico, a nation more identified with earthenware and the brightly colored, decorative vessels and decorative arts of the folk potters. His clay body created an unexpected link to the Olmec heads, carved in stone. They seemed to be made of the same material as Perez’ pots, or vice versa. This becomes evident because at least half his pots have exposed unglazed surfaces. The use of grog (usually small fragments of ground ceramic) add to the sense of being carved from stone.
It is all thrown and either left in a classic vessel format or paddled, reshaped, cut into different levels and segments. His range of manipulations is endless but is not scattered, there is cohesiveness to the artist’s perception of form, shape, volume and mass and a central unifying syntax bring it all together into a wide, but single stream.
Perez and I discussed craft, which is very important to him. He is highly critical of contemporary work that lacks this kind of mastery. At the same time, he developed this virtuosity precisely to free himself from craft’s tyranny of craft, becoming so facile even virtuosic that he barely thinks of material, process and firings, focusing on the forms and surfaces that travel through his mid and into his fingers.
His glaze painting is exceptional, the palette linked by vast tonal array of earth tones often highlighted against the maize colored ceramic body or a silky matte black glaze. However, one type of surface marking sets him apart, cutting into the clay. This is not new per se, indeed it is ubiquitous, but the manner in which he does it, the elegant precision, the sense of ministering tenderly to flesh, releasing of pressure as the cut gently unfolds, is without peer. One can go from pot to pot and there is never a piece in which the incisions seem awkward, forced or lacking in gesture or at odds with the lyricism of the form.
Garth Clark is the founder and chief editor of Cfile.
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