A Review: The Here/There Exhibit

The millennial practice in Yolanda Gonzalez's and YOLA's ceramics

By Jimmy Centeno
Published on LatinoLA: November 22, 2017

A Review: The Here/There Exhibit

As part of the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, The Here/There exhibit -- the millennial practice of taking clay and give it shape -- was not better expressed than with the ceramic works of artists Yolanda Gonzalez and YOLA her mother at the FM Fine Art Gallery exhibition in West Los Angeles. The exhibit ran from October 15 through November 3.

The handmade experience presented by both mother and daughter was a quality of intimacy between the natural elements, meditation and the art of imperfection. There was a Japanese aesthetic feel of Wabi Sabi to both of their works embraced with Gonzalez's Chicana art. Every imperfection, every hand indentation and heart beat pulse that had stemmed into the molded clay is a signature of simplicity and balance. The organic cylinder vases, plates, bowls, and candle holders provided the textured shapes, the space to embrace a bundle of flowers, a candle or incense.

This series of work by Gonzalez and YOLA carry the warm friendly gesture of two hands folded together as a festive spiritual offering towards harmony. The here and there is for Gonzalez, the artistic overlap of several generations back to the late 1870s in Mexico to the present. Her six-month art residency in Japan would leave a lasting impression visible in her art and ceramics sculptures.

For YOLA, the creative influence would kindle during her childhood from her aunt Mague Lopez, a painter of portraits, landscapes, and a pianist. The process of giving shape is a ballad between heart, mind and soul. The ceramic works are modest in size yet big in heart; they extend beyond the edge of any known horizon, for they are timeless creations.

For Gonzalez, working with her mother is inspirational. It is a side-by-side expression of respect and love to grow together and share their talents and cultural heritage. The distinctive portraits in Gonzalez's vases of women with their hair bun-style, manifest confidence and assurance. The transmissions of contact in YOLA's ceramics wrap the eye around a gentle circumference that spells organic roots.

In this exhibition, both mother and daughter share the beauty of the handmade skills to deliver an antiquity Mesoamerican tradition known to carry stories and narratives. For it is no coincidence that just about every known civilization has taken clay as one of their primary source of material. Its malleable and flexible earthenware qualities speak of the particular relationship between earth and artisans. This joint body of work is receptive to multiple expressions. It is the gift of sharing pleasure that captivates.

The Here/There exhibition has tapped beyond collaborations and exchanges it has brought forth the inter-cultural Latin American/Latino continental experience extended beyond borders. The crossing of ideas and how they influence are much like clouds that inspire and help keep our intuitive spirit free in search of new horizons.

Jimmy Centeno
Writer and Artist
October 24, 2017

About Jimmy Centeno:
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