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New Ceramic Sculpture by Joan Elena Goldberg

Art Exhibition
July 10th - 22nd
Estudio 46 - Zacateros 46
Reception, Sat. July 10th, 7 - 9pm

Article by Shaindle Dobek

“Absolutely original!” “Sensually energetic.” “Her artwork gives me the goose bumps,” says Lisa Simms of Estudio 46, host of an eclectic new exhibition of ceramic sculpture by Joan Elena Goldberg.

Drawing imagery for her artwork from the physical world, particularly natural forms found in abundance in San Miguel’s countryside, Ms. Goldberg imbues her sculpture with her own seductive color and unusual textures. One can hardly recognize clay as her medium of choice.

Six of her 14 pieces are based on perfume bottle designs that come apart in sections as the artist plays with the notion of function. The idea for the bottles came to Goldberg after a trip to the jungles of Xilitla, San Luis Potosi to visit the fantasmagoric sculpture gardens of Sir Edward James. Oversized, Da Da-like reinventions of simple shapes, the bottles are whimsical and lovely. They are decorated with colorful oil paintings of imaginary landscapes, nopales and surreal flowers.

One particularly distinctive piece of multimedia sculpture titled, “My Hut Is Your Hut,” looks like an enchanted palapa from the Yucatan, where Goldberg says she first fell in love with Mexico. Standing on a base of painted spring-green grass appears to be the pastoral home of a country dweller. But on the reverse, concave, internal side grows an eerie dark tree with long, wiry branches that brush against the interior gold-leafed walls.

Of her own work Goldberg says, “It’s such a big deal for me to complete a cohesive body of new sculpture. I tend to work at a slow, methodical pace, so for me every show is the end of some kind of magical, cathartic journey. I feel exhausted and exhilarated.”

Most recently from San Francisco, California Ms. Goldberg has lived in San Miguel for four years. In 1983 she graduated cum laude from Cornish Institute of The Arts in Seattle, Wa. She has studied art at The Art Students’ League in San Juan, Puerto Rico, California State University at Los Angeles, and University of California at Santa Cruz. She earned her MFA, magna cum laude in Ceramic Sculpture from Instituto Allende in 2002, and taught ceramics there until last year. Currently she is an art instructor at Victoria’s School for bicultural teenagers, and teaches privately at her home studio in Centro. Her exhibition at Estudio 46 continues through July 22nd, 2004.