Rafael Perez in Ruthin

I was in North Wales for a brief work related visit to a factory on Tuesday. I was done just before midday so decided to pop into nearby Ruthin. For a while I’d been intending to visit the Ruthin Craft Centre and so this was a good opportunity to do so.
The craft centre has a number of workshops used by artists, but also has three galleries where they hold exhibitions, a shop and a cafe.
One of the current exhibitions features the work of a Spanish ceramic artist, Rafael Perez. He’s not exactly a traditional potter, producing abstract ceramic sculptures rather than utilitarian pots.

He uses black earthenware and white porcelain clays which behave differently in the kiln, the earthenware expanding and giving off gases, distorting and producing complex forms. In some cases pigments are applied which result in brightly coloured sections. He has a good understanding of his materials and how they behave in the kiln and uses these properties in a controled manner

“I have developed various clays at a medium temperature (around 1150 degrees) that have the quality of expanding upon firing. By combining these with other inert clays (sometimes red Spanish clay but generally porcelain with a low melting point and a melting agent in their composition) I make my sculptures.” (Interview on Contemporary Ceramics blog)

Interviewed by Ceramics Now Magazine Rafael reveals that

“My work is about surprising myself and the audience, using white porcelain and black earthenware clay, fired at high temperature. The black earthenware expands, thus creating a volcanic landscape. It is not just a natural landscape, because it is directed by me. I have created the cuttings from the beginning, but still the aspect of surprise is always present, because what happens in the kiln is unpredictable.” Rafael Pérez

Some of the pieces on display looked as if they were solidified molten rock
While others were much more geometric and structured.
rafa also produces works on paper and ceramic “wallworks” such as this

I know that his work will not be to everyone’s taste, but I found them fascinating and very interesting.

 

 

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