By Susan Page
The 8th annual exhibition of the ceramic works of internationally acclaimed artist Gustavo Pérez is now open at Galería Atotonilco. San Miguel de Allende residents have a rare opportunity for the first view of a large selection of these world-famous works. After Feb. 1, the entire exhibition will be presented online, but anyone in San Miguel now can visit the gallery to see the works in person and have first selection. Appointments will be for one party at a time with all safety protocols in place.
We have an extraordinary opportunity, right here in San Miguel, to view a rich and varied selection of these highly sought-after ceramic works. This show is the largest collection of Pérez’s work that has ever been exhibited for sale, anywhere. It includes pieces from as far back as 2000 plus a large body of recent works.
If Mexico designated “National Living Treasures,” as Japan does, 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 has been exhibited in fine galleries all over the world including Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico City (including the Franz Mayer, the Museum of Modern Art, and Bellas Artes).
The word “genius” should not be used lightly. True genius is rare, and it is no exaggeration to apply it to Pérez. His ability to combine an unending variety of undulating or geometric forms with his most unusual surface designs allows him to create breathtaking beauty, quite distinctive from other ceramic art. Any one piece of Pérez’s work is instantly recognizable as his, yet the staggering variety of ideas within his trademark style is truly astonishing. His pieces combine elegance and precision with a relaxed freedom from convention, a difficult combination to achieve.
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 Japan, Holland, and the south of France, and has maintained his studio near Xalapa in the state of Veracruz for more than 30 years.
Folk Art from All Over Mexico
In addition to the Pérez show, Galería Atotonilco presents high quality folk art from all over Mexico. While most folk art galleries show only work from a particular region, gallery owners Mayer Shacter and Susan Page travel widely in Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia seeking the finest artists working today. The collection includes ceramics, woodcarvings, paper maché, copper, baskets, textiles, iron and tinwork, and more. With 6,000 square feet of exhibition space, the gallery is a 10-minute drive north of town and is close to several popular hot springs and many nearby restaurants.