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This first American exhibit by the Mexican ceramicist Juan de Dios Sánchez Arce is rooted in imagery and stories that live “in the blood of all Mexicans.” This collection represents the evolution of a Raku fire technique that Sánchez and his team have pushed to the limits of what any other ceramic artist has done. This exhibit is about a lost lesson: about the balance of nature and humanity in the universe, life and death, and how Sánchez believes this lesson is beginning to recover in the minds of his culture.
Sánchez began collaborating with Jun Kaneko over twelve years ago when he, after seeing Kaneko’s work, asked how he managed to build such monumental works. Kaneko, in response, asked the very same question about Sánchez’s slip-cast and Raku fired work. The processes of both these artists are difficult and have been independently pushed to the limits over and over. The combination of these mutual investigations led to revolutions in large-scale slip-cast Raku fired ceramics that had never before been achieved. Much of the result of this collaboration can be seen in this exhibit as well as in Kaneko’s ongoing work.
Sánchez has lived and worked in Cuernavaca, Mexico for the last 15 years. He grew up in an environment of both art and medicine; his father was a doctor, but his life was immersed in art and Sánchez was drawing and painting at a very young age. As a young man, Sánchez practiced as a doctor of anesthesiology for 17 years but changed professions to become a ceramist. His medical studies influenced the way he sees life, the way he behaves, and the way he feels compelled to help others. The discipline to be a good artist grew from the discipline he learned from the intense study of medicine.
By maintaining contact with ceramicists in Europe, Sánchez facilitated a side business, working with Mexican artisans and selling large quantities of high-end functional ceramic ware to distribution companies all over Europe. He studied Raku fired ceramics with his brother at a production studio in Healdsburg, CA before opening their ceramic studio in Mexico. Although he had many other projects and professions at the time, he ultimately took over the studio. He continued to study ceramics and quickly began pushing the normal expectations of scale with both slip-cast and Raku fired works.
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