Rafael Peréz

Spanish sculptor Rafael “Rafa” Peréz partners an educated control of the material with the independent actions of the fire. He says, “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.”

Heat is a lively partner in the creation of Rafa’s work. The clay bodies, porcelain and black earthenware, push and break free of one another as the heat of the kiln expands them at different rates. This juxtaposition of materials and their properties pays respect to the maker, the material, and the process.

In addition to clay, layers of glaze create a surface that also tells a story of time spent in the kiln. Glaze responds to the firing either by cracking and peeling away to show the material through its crust or by splitting in large segments to allow movement of a piece it once attemped to envelop. The resulting surfaces, while a surprise each time, are anything but unforeseeable happenstance.

Rafa utilizes his understanding of the material, gained through methodical exploration, while simultaneously embracing the element of unpredictability delivered by the fire. The result is satisfying and evocative. Simply put, “My work is an attempt to capture pleasure. I hope to communicate this sensation.”

Special thanks to ceramic artist and professor Todd Shanafelt and to the Minnesota State University at Mankato for their collaboration on this exhibition.

For purchasing instructions:
Thank you for considering the addition of one of Rafa’s artworks to your collection.  For questions, and to complete your purchase and arrange for shipping, please contact our Sales Gallery during business hours at salesgallery@northernclaycenter.org. You may also contact our Director of Galleries & Events, Tippy Maurant, at tippymaurant@northernclaycenter.org.
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