Every year Celebration of Clay allows members to enter their own selection of work, and features awards to highlight exceptional works, selected by a juror. This year we have three: Abby Salsbury, Hebé García, and Jules Epstein. They will be selecting Best in Show Award of $150, the UNM Arita Porcelain Award for Beauty, Quality and Functionality of $100, and three Merit Awards of $50 each. Read on to learn more about them.
I am a visual artist working primarily in clay. Although I've concentrated on ceramics throughout my life, in recent years I've taken an interest in printmaking and I now practice both mediums. My current ceramic work is a combination of the two with highly detailed surfaces and narrative scenes depicting natural forms and their relationships within a unique landscape. My printmaking imagery is transferred using a ceramic decal process, offering many more possibilities for the creation of themes, story lines and characters; as well as pure texture, varying line-weight and depth.
I grew up in western Massachusetts and studied ceramics with William Daley at the Philadelphia College of Art and Betty Woodman at the University of Colorado. For the last twenty-two years I've been making a living as a studio artist, working on the mesa of Taos, New Mexico. This desert and Rocky Mountain view offer a vast array of inspiration from its changing light and atmosphere to its plant life and varied creatures. The worlds within my artwork come from this view and I'm motivated by it every day.
Hebé García and her husband visited Abiquiu, NM, for the first time in 2013, and it took just a week for them to fall in love with the town and its surroundings. By 2015 they were ready to move from Puerto Rico to New Mexico. After a long search, they found the perfect spot for their home and García ’s Artist Studio on top of a Mesa with 360 views, including Georgia O ’Keeffe ’s iconic Pedernal.
The move has inspired and influenced García ’s work —a diverse range of painting, sculpture, and installation — to explore more the intersections of feminism, mythology, and cultural roots. Her clay and oil figurative works often reflect Jungian archetypes and are firmly ensconced in magical realism. Her figures are hauntingly beautiful, mysterious, and sometimes macabre.* She hopes that her work acts as a point of departure, encouraging the viewer to connect, interact, and ultimately create their own narrative. Hebé García graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 1986. She has participated in numerous collective and individual shows within Puerto Rico and the USA, including the prestigious Muestra Nacional de Arte of 2013 de PR; La Entrada del Espejo 2016, San Antonio TX; Celebration of Clay 2018, Taos NM; A Certain Sense of Her 2019, Beeville, TX; Ceramic Wall Works, Roseville, CA; and From the Ground UP XXIX at the Museum of Art Las Cruces, Las Cruces, NM amongst others. Presently, García is a member of the New Mexico Potters and Clay Artists (NMPCA), the Abiquiu Studio Tour, and the Gentileschi Aegis Group Association (GAGA). Her work is held in collections in Puerto Rico, England and the USA. * Sylvia Benitez, Director of the Gentileschi Aegis Group Association
Just two years after receiving his BFA degree in graphic design from Penn State University, Mr. Epstein founded a brand design firm just north of Boston that grew to be a nationally recognized business with more than 25 employees. Thirty-three years later, in 2013, he sold the business and retired full-time to Taos, NM, with his wife and two daughters. In 2019, along with his wife Georgia, he laid the foundation for the formation of the Taos Ceramics Center (TCC), a community ceramics studio, supply store, and respected interdisciplinary gallery. Mr. Epstein continues to be the curator for the TCC Gallery and Operations Manager of the business. He has been an active board member on the Taos Arts Council since 2018 and is treasurer of his local acequia in Arroyo Hondo.