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Fine Arts Center Presents an Exhibition of Over 100 Works by Contemporary Mexican Ceramic Artists from Tonalá
The remarkable execution of these works, and the beautiful imagery depicting a rich variety of real and fantastic forms show the aesthetic and technical mastery achieved by these artists, considered some of the best ceramicists in Mexico today.
COLORADO SPRING, CO.- The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Center in Denver, presents an exhibition of over 100 works by contemporary Mexican ceramic artists from Tonalá, which opened Dec. 11.

These ceramic artists draw upon a thousand of years of tradition. Tonalá is a small city outside of Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco, where potters fused together ancient and modern techniques to produce a regional tradition that boasts 10 different styles of finishes with rich colors and distinctive decorative details.

“The remarkable execution of these works, and the beautiful imagery depicting a rich variety of real and fantastic forms show the aesthetic and technical mastery achieved by these artists, considered some of the best ceramicists in Mexico today,” said FAC Curator Tariana Navas-Nieves. “A large exhibition focusing on contemporary Tonalá ceramics has not travelled to the United States since the early 1960s, so this is truly a wonderful opportunity for us.”

Artists featured in the exhibition include: José Luis Cortez Hernández, Fernando Jimón Melchor, Juan Modesto Peña Castro, Benjamín Olvera Nogal, Brígido Pérez Ramos, Juan José Ramos Medrano, José Angel Santos Juárez, Sergio Pérez Arana, Gilberto Díaz Jarero, Antonio Mateos Suárez, Pablo Tamos Lucano, and more.

“The works in this exhibition are absolutely delightful,” said Sam Gappmayer, FAC President and CEO. “This is going to be a great exhibit for families with children during the holiday season.”

The ceramic production in Tonalá, known as the authentic mestizo ceramic is symbolic of Mexico’s identity. Made of burnished clay or scented clay, these artistic objects are created for ordinary and decorative use. The tradition comes from the Tonalteca group, which used clay to produce polished forms. The firsts designs of these ceramics were inspired by forms found in nature such as vegetables and roots. The bright hues used for burnishing the objects originated from the powdered colorful and scented clay found in Mexican soil.

During colonial times, the production of pottery incorporated decoration techniques brought by the Augustinian missionaries in the 17th century. The missionaries introduced ceramic glaze that began to be used along with the original burnishing method. Tonalá ceramics became an important part of the decoration of wealthy houses in Spain, for their fragrance, color and design. They were considered luxury objects brought from the Americas.

Today, the artisans of Tonalá still use the burnishing techniques of their pre-Hispanic ancestors, fused with colonial styles. The result is sophisticated ceramics that have become an important part of Mexico’s artistic
traditions.

Legacy of a Thousand Years: The Ceramics of Tonalá
Dec. 11, 2010 – Feb. 27, 2011
North Events, Seagraves Galleries

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center | Mexican Cultural Center in Denver | Contemporary Mexican Ceramic | Tonalá |


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