Galería Atotonilco Presents Internationally Acclaimed Ceramic Artist Gustavo Pérez
By Susan Page
If Mexico designated “National Living Treasures” as Japan does, Gustavo Pérez would surely be at the top of the list. He stands alone as the only Mexican ceramic artist who is internationally celebrated and admired. His work is exhibited in fine galleries in Tokyo, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City (including the Franz Mayer, the Museum of Modern Art, and Bellas Artes), and now San Miguel de Allende. His most recent triumph is a city-like installation of over 3,000 components that recently opened at the Anthropological Museum in Xalapa, Veracruz.
Galería Atotonilco Solo Exhibition
Gustavo Pérez Gala Opening
Sat, Jan 7 and Sun 8, 12–5pm both days
Directions to the gallery in our ad in this issue
We have an extraordinary opportunity, right here in San Miguel, to view a rich and varied selection of his highly sought-after ceramic works. The exhibition opening at Galería Atotonilco on January 7 and 8 presents more than 100 vessels and sculptures by Pérez, the largest collection of his work that has ever been exhibited for sale. It represents work that Pérez created over a period of 20 years, from the mid-90s to the present. Pérez himself will be present at the opening. The show will remain up through April. Except for this opening, the gallery is open by appointment.
Many ceramic artists emphasize either form or surface design in their creations. One of the distinctive qualities of Pérez’s work is that he is a genius at integrating his fluid forms with innovative surface designs so that the two work together to create breathtaking beauty. His pieces combine elegance and precision with a relaxed freedom from convention—a combination difficult to achieve.
Art critics have been without qualification in praising Pérez’s work. For example, Mexican writer and recipient of the Cervantes Prize, Sergio Pitol, says that Pérez’s work “is…charged with passion, discipline, and jubilation… It appears as something perfectly natural, created effortlessly, like Brancusi’s sculptures.”
According to ceramic historian Garth Clark, “When you look at Gustavo Pérez’s work, do not do so with the overly simplistic notion that a pot is merely a pot. Pots have always been containers, but not just of food and liquids. They have been revered for eons as receptacles for worship, dreams, hopes, fantasies, offerings, and history.”
Gustavo Pérez has transformed ceramics into a fine art. Throughout his long career, he has continued to explore and to push the boundaries of his medium. His work is a magnet; it draws people in.
Pérez grew up in Mexico City. Before he discovered his passion for clay, he studied engineering, mathematics, and philosophy, never feeling fully satisfied or engaged. His chance encounter with clay in 1971 felt to him like his soul’s homecoming, and he has been single-mindedly devoted to creating art ever since. He has lived for several years each in Holland and France and has collaborated with ceramic masters in many parts of the world, including Japan. He has maintained his studio near Xalapa in the state of Veracruz for more than 30 years.