SANTA FE––José Sierra recently launched an ambitious new body of work at the Gerald Peters Projects gallery (December 13, 2019 – June 13, 2020). The show was curated by Mark Del Vecchio and includes all of the eye popping form and color magic that you would expect from Sierra on an intensified scale. Caroline Picard writes about the show for Artforum:
“In his latest body of work, José Sierra presents thirteen large anthropomorphic vessels that combine sculpture, painting, and ceramic techniques. Their varying surface textures and distilled vocabulary of geometric marks and colors (saturated lemon yellows, pinks, lime greens, and cobalt blues pattern dark gray and black surfaces) evoke the paintings of Surrealists, including Wifredo Lam and Joan Miró. But Sierra extends their language into three dimensions, exploring how an abstract lexicon can negotiate a form. He adds volume to the exteriors of his wheel-thrown creations via concave depressions, holes that punch through planes, strange appendages, and voluptuous curves that sit like fat on a human waist.
The success of these objects derives partly from their ability to inspire the viewer’s bodily empathy, even as the works remain delightfully alien, abstract, inaccessible, and vulgar. In Untitled (019), the hard skin of the pot seems as if it has been pulled back in places to reveal fluffy-looking coils reminiscent of intestines or insulation. When they are visible, the insides of the vessels are glazed, some in a dark pond green, and their bulbous folds and indentations show the inverse of their facades. It is fitting that those spaces, like the untitled titles, are empty, insisting on their sufficiency independent of possessions or identifications.”Caroline Picard
Sierra was born in Mérida, Venezuela in 1975. While a self-taught artist, he was introduced to ceramics at the University of the Andes in Mérida, Venezuela, where he learned the basic skills of mixing clay, glazes, and wheel throwing. In 1996, Sierra began working professionally as an artist; by 2000, he was able to build his first American studio in Iowa. A decade later Sierra moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he maintains his studio today.
“My inspirations include pre-Hispanic art and architecture, and contemporary architecture and design. I also feel a connection with Japanese and Korean potters such as Wada Morihiro, who was also inspired by Pre-Colombian art. I also am drawn to the work of Tatsusuke Kuriki, Jun Kaneko, Robert Turner and Ken Price. I am also influenced by modern Venezuelan artists like Jesús Soto, Alejandro Otero, Carlos Cruz Diez and Gego.”José Sierra
About the Artist: Sierra’s work is included in the collections of the Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID; University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN; Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, NM; University Art Collection, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA; Kamm Teapot Foundation, Sparta, NC; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX; University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA; Central College, Pella, IA; Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KS; and in numerous private collections in the United States and Latin America.