This “Emergence” exhibition is the result of creating art with materials from their natural environment, which speaks of identity. The art work in the exhibition consists of fifteen pottery pieces that were hand built for this installation. Through the creation of this group of work, I explore the emergence of a bond created between land and people.
My work is about regeneration of a historic representation of pottery and the bond that is created between land and people, which allows expression of the world, at various times, places and spaces.
The medium of clay allows me to express a sense of connection to the earth. Pueblo people believe that we originated from the womb of the earth, in the form of clay. I find that by the regeneration of these different styles of pottery (black on black/matte, Potsuwi’i incised, black on white, polychrome, and micaceous) I am allowed to make a universal statement about the struggle within oneself to maintain a respectful connection with the natural environment.
As a Native artist working in clay in 2007, I find an abundant history in which to explore clay’s significance as both a utilitarian material and as an artistic medium. Clay has become my accepted medium for its viability and versatility. In 1920 Julian and Maria Martinez pushed clay into the art scene in the form of pottery with a high polished black on black matte look, which projected a two-dimensional image. They were interested in clay as a material and as a product of identity. They are renowned for their artistic revival in the process of creating their pieces. I, too, am interested in the process and the materials and creating a product of identity. The physical challenge of gathering the materials from their natural environment creates an intimacy with the material and an intimate connection with the land that provides the materials.
Clarence Cruzis Tewa, from the Pueblo of San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh and a graduate of the University of New Mexico, with a BFA in Art Studio. His home is located twenty-eight (28) miles north of Santa Fe, and six (6) miles north of Espanola on the Taos Highway. The first capital of New Mexico is located in his Pueblo in an area called Yunge, also known as San Gabriel. His Pueblo is also the sight of the first Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
His works consists of traditional pottery of San Juan and Micaceous pottery. The traditional pottery of San Juan is the corrugated, Potsuwii incised, and the carved polychrome styles. His Micaceous pottery consists of the Potsuwii incising styles. Micaceous pottery can be functional or nonfunctional. He works with raw materials that all come from Mother Earth. His pottery are all fired outside using the traditional methods to achieve that high quality finish and most sought after authentic Native pots. He does three types of firings: (1) is an open firing, where the flames are allowed to touch the pots, (2) an enclosed firing, where the flames are not touching the pots, (3) a reduction firing, where the pots are turned black.
Through his continued education he has had the honor to instruct graduate and undergraduate level pottery classes at the University of New Mexico from 1999 to present for the fall semesters. He has also had the opportunity to work with two great potters, Juan Quezada (Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico) and Mary Lewis Garcia (Acoma Pueblo, Acoma, New Mexico). He is also an instructor of Micaceous pottery at Poeh Arts, for the Pueblo of Pojoaque, where he has instructed the fall, spring and summer classes from 2000 to present.
Clarence shares his knowledge of clays and his culture with children ages 5-13 years old in summer camps through Escuela del Sol Montessori in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also works with the senior citizens from his home in San Juan Pueblo. His expertise is shared with the neighboring Pueblos who want to carry on the tradition of pottery making within their family and the Pueblo from where she or he may come from.