José Sierra, whose work is part of a two-person show opening at Santa Fe Clay on July 28, learned the basic skills of mixing clay and glazes as well as wheel throwing when he studied at the University of the Andes in Mérida, Venezuela. After he moved to the U.S. in 2000, he was able to devote himself to ceramics full-time.
“The images and memories of coffee mills, intensely colored mountains, dramatic landscape, pre-Columbian art and architecture as well contemporary design all combine to influence and inspire my work,” says Sierra, who recently moved to Albuquerque.
“I like to make simple forms using imagery that’s common to the Inca, Mayan and Aztec cultures. All these cultures were influenced by geometry, which is a universal language.”
Sierra’s sculptural pieces share the show with colorful work by John Gill, a professor of ceramic art at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University who has presented lectures and workshops around the world for more than 30 years. His work is in the permanent collections of many museums including the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles.
Gill assembles slabs of clay quickly, gracefully embracing the moments when things don’t work out as planned. He’s drawn to vibrant hues and firmly believes that “all colors work together. Some just have to work harder.”
Santa Fe Clay shows work by Sierra and Gill in its 1,100 square foot gallery space in the Railyard district. Shows are presented regularly and featured work by leaders in the field as well as emerging artists.