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Hunter Stamps’s Sculptural Forms Bring Figurative Incongruity to Galería 8A

By Joe Molinaro

It is true that the challenge for those working in clay is to discover new ways to explore the medium beyond its own traditions and techniques while focusing on its potential to emerge as a vehicle for visual communication.

For ceramic sculptor Hunter Stamps, these challenges are met boldly with work that confronts the human condition and provokes the viewer’s sense of the beautiful and grotesque, life and death, health and sickness, and other dichotomies that help serve to illuminate the boundaries of self. A new exhibition of his work at Galería 8A in the Fábrica la Aurora presents his understanding and resolve in exploring these very issues.

While at first glance it might be easy to dismiss this work as a casual modeling of abstract forms, upon further examination and reflection, a sense of content begins to emerge, revealing an artist’s deliberate attempt at shaping the human experience through clay. The pieces display movement through the wrapping and folding of clay that seem, at first sight, to be more formal configurations of form and surface, but the viewer eventually becomes easily engaged on both a formal and personal level.

Stamps, who appears to work as a surgeon—cutting and presenting slabs of clay that appear fleshlike—demonstrates his interest and devotion to the anatomy and the human condition. His sculptures, often grotesque ceramic works that simultaneously attract and repel, consistently draw him ever closer to creating forms that look for new inroads into the human psyche.

Through works that confront one’s phobias, obsessions, and eccentricities while simultaneously using the traditional toolbox of the artist, a careful application of volume, form, and surface are employed as a way to explore a more complex reality. Stamps presents us with objects that contort, deform, and simply lie out before us as body parts in a morgue. Using both clay and nonclay approaches to form and surface, Stamps does not hesitate to violate the norms of a ceramic tradition in order to empower a narrative he finds compelling. Yet in doing so, he has neither relegated the medium to an unimportant position in his work nor has he snubbed his nose at a tradition in order to simply serve a personal, selfish end. His works allow surfaces to suggest skin. The fullness of his forms create a lifelike movement in a static structure resting quietly before us and a metaphor that engages the viewer through an otherwise disgusting illusion.

In his current work at the Galería 8A, Stamps demonstrates the potential to address the most contemporary issues in both art and life.


Art Opening

The Sculptural Forms of Hunter Stamps

Sat, Dec 1, 5–7pm

Galería 8A, Fabrica la Aurora



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