The Studio of Gustavo Pérez
Many gallery visitors are curious about the studio life of the artist. There’s a fascination with the workspace, the materials, and the lifestyle. While most queries have to do with technique or process, another oft-asked question is “Where does he work?”
Years ago, I traveled to Mexico for a studio visit with Gustavo Pérez. Since Gustavo lives in a small town near Xalapa, it was quite a journey. Hours east of Mexico City, near la Ruta de la Niebla in the Veracruz province, Gustavo has built a very productive studio structure. The photo here shows the artist welcoming a visitor to his compound. It’s not far from the picturesque town of Coatepec. This, of course, is just his base camp, for Pérez is quite a global presence in the world of ceramics. He’s recently been working and exhibiting in France.
In one sense, Gustavo might be seen to have taken refuge in the country, a gentleman scholar with a rich interest in politics and literature. But he speaks four languages fluently (Spanish, French, English, Dutch), which reflects his knowledge of the modern world and its cultures. His work, dealing with the issues of symmetry, progressions and compression, has a kind of lyrical modernism to it, and is a masterful manipulation of the material. Especially when he addresses a transformation in ten parts, like these pieces arrayed on the grid of the studio floor.