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T. Fuller Fine Art Presents Gran Maestro de México, Ángel Santos Juárez
email this pageprint this pageemail usLynn Auch - PVNN
April 10, 2010

Master Potter and Gran Maestro de México, Ángel Santos Juárez, will present a diverse collection of his powerful, exquisite ceramics at T. Fuller Fine Art, Friday night, April 16. This opening will be the second in a series of Grandes Maestros' work for sale by the gallery.

Señor Santos, a renowned artist, lives in a community of talented alfareros including world-famous ceramicists, Nicasio Pajarito, Salvador Vásquez Carmona and Florentino Jimon Barba. While some Grandes Maestros of the ceramic form follow a more "naive" and traditional line of decoration, Ángel Santos seeks perfection in his burnished finishes and in his extremely sophisticated painting and decoration.

His relationship with clay began at the early age of 7 when he apprenticed at the studio of Mario Silva where the young artist exhibited talent in punteado decoration and miniatures. When only a teenager, Ángel Santos opened his own studio. He developed a unique style that distanced him from work using only traditional designs.

With majors in graphic design and sculpture, Señor Santos is unusual - he honed his talent outside the influence of a family who traditionally passes down techniques and aesthetics to talented younger family members. Without this type of influence, Señor Santos escaped expectations that he would produce cerámica with a predetermined appearance.

Although initially known for his skill in miniatures, Señor Santos now produces a variety of sizes. While his designs and painting depart from traditional motifs, his preparation of the clay is similar to others who practice a bruñido method. After carefully selecting his clay with varying amounts of silica to achieve distinctive results, he mills the clay by grinding and sifting.

He then selects the most appropriate clays, mixes them, adds water and sets the clay aside to "ferment" before kneading it on the floor into either a semi-hard consistency required for modeling or a softer consistency for use in a plaster mold.

After a piece is formed, stones periodically dipped in water are used to smooth the piece. Once dried, the piece is bathed in a prepared slip of the same clays mixed with earth pigments. The slip provides the background color and seals the pores of the clay.

Bruñido pottery is recognized by its buttery smooth surface texture. This is achieved by careful preparation of the clay and by patient burnishing with wet stones after the piece is created. The decorative process involves mixing and pre-testing to achieve the desired tones and finishes.

Santos' decoration, which is second to none in its fineness of line and detail, is applied using brushes made from the hair of various animals. While the paint remains slightly damp, the pieces are polished forcefully with a pyrite stone. This process fixes the paint properly and prevents fading. Pieces are fired in wood-fired circular kilns at 650-700 degree C for three to four hours.

Señor Santos is also a community leader who formed the non-profit organization, Herencia Milenaria, a group of artisans who established a collective to exhibit outside of Mexico. In 2006 Mexican President Vicente Fox awarded this group the National Award for science and arts in the folk art category for promoting Mexican ceramics.

Angel Santos' work can be found in major private collections, galleries and museums all over the world. He has participated in numerous exhibitions and competitions in Mexico, the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, and China. He has won numerous special awards, acknowledgements and honorable mentions. He is also a featured artist in the book "Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art," which includes a distinctive group of artisans selected as the best of Mexico's arte popular by Premio Fomento Cultural Banamex.

At 6:00 pm on Friday, April 16, the gallery invites the public to a discussion on the importance of these Great Masters as the foundation for contemporary ceramics. The artist will be in attendance for both the lecture and the opening exhibit, which are open to the public.

Information about the discussion and the exhibit can be obtained from T. Fuller Fine Art Gallery Director G.L. Auch at Corona 169, Centro, or by calling 044-322-129-5209.

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