By Susan Page
Gustavo Pérez stands alone as the only Mexican ceramic artist who is internationally celebrated and admired. His work is exhibited in fine galleries in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, and continues to be represented here in San Miguel de Allende by Galería Atotonilco. The current exhibition at the gallery presents more than sixty 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 twenty years, from the mid-90s to the present. We have an extraordinary opportunity, right here in San Miguel, to view a rich and varied selection of his highly sought after work.
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.
Pérez has developed entirely original, complex glaze techniques that involve masking off areas, spraying, and building up layers of glaze. Many of his surface colors come from unusual combinations of glazes that are fused together in the firing to produce soft colors with great depth. He never draws his ideas out on sketch pads ahead of time but rather draws his inspiration from the clay itself as he is working. “I have to be immersed in my work for inspiration to come,” he says. “It never comes while I am thinking about working. The process of creating is what leads me to new places. My work comes from inside me and from my hands.”
Art critics have been without qualification in praising Pérez’s work. For example, Frank Lloyd writes, “Pérez is a major and distinctive voice in the world of contemporary ceramics . . . (He) presents clarity of vision, adept execution, and a sense of grace and natural elegance.”
About the Gallery
Galería Atotonilco is number one on Trip Advisor’s list of “Things to Do” in all of San Miguel. It is located five miles north of town in a much published, architecturally interesting building on eight lush acres. In 6,000 square feet of exhibition space, the gallery shows a wide variety of high quality folk art from many parts of Mexico such as country antique furniture, vintage photographs of Mexico, and a large collection of textiles including vintage serapes. The Gustavo Pérez show takes up only one portion of the large gallery.
Everyone is invited to the gallery open house on Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15, from noon to 5pm both days. Refreshments will be served. For directions to the gallery, visit our website (galeriaatotonilco.com). Except for this open house, the gallery is open by appointment. 415 185 2225 or 415 153 5365.