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Cultural Landscapes: The Art of Eddie Dominguez
May 1 - June 13, 2008
The Wyoming State Museum is featuring New Mexico artist Eddie Dominguez in conjunction with the Cinco de Mayo Hispanic Cheyenne celebration. Dominguez creates ceramic sculpture and prints on the theme of the home environment, nostalgia and ideas of culture. (right: Eddie Dominguez, Sierra Negra, ceramic, 23 x 20 x 8 inches)
A native of Tucumcari, New Mexico, Dominguez incorporates the rich cultural heritage of his Hispanic background into his artwork. He attributes the influence of his Aunt who filled her house with quilts, doilies, crocheted curtain, braided rugs and shrines with his deciding to become an artist. Eddie says, "art was my next-door neighbor making a quilt; it was my aunt crocheting, or my mother making a dress. The most honest influences that I have had can be found in the little things of my home."
Dominguez creates sculptures whose roots derive from familiar functional items, such as dinnerware sets that tread the boundaries between art, craft and kitsch. He has been doing the dinnerware sets for the past twenty-five years. However, his most recent works includes large-scale work such as rosaries and torsos. The lower portions of the torsos appear to be landscapes, the upper portion, skies or flowers growing. Dominguez relates the torsos to highway memorials.
Dominguez has a degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art and New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. In 2006 he was awarded the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts for his innovative work in ceramics and as an educator and role model for youth. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and sits on the Boards of the Roswell Museum, the Georgia O'Keefe Foundation and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. He has also received public art commissions in New York, Maine, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nebraska, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, the Sheldon Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Phoenix Airport, U.S. West Corporation and Hallmark Cards Corporation.
Dominguez is currently assistant professor of ceramics at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
(above: Eddie Dominguez, Red Torso, ceramic, 18 x 24 inches)
Wall texts from the exhibition:
Cultural Landscapes: The Art of Eddie Dominguez
All of my work is imbued with my love of the land, the home environment, nostalgia and ideas of culture.
I grew up in the small town of Tucumcari, New Mexico. In college I learned that there was a formal, academic way of thinking about art_there was a historical way to think about art, and there were museums all over the world that housed it. I didn't grow up like that. To me, art was my next-door neighbor making a quilt; it was my aunt crocheting, or my mother making a dress. Anything that involved somebody in any kind of creative expression was art. The most honest influences that I have had can be found in the little things of my home.
My use of color is informed and inspired by contemporary painting. My sculptural ceramic dinnerware sets are assembled to become flower gardens, fish aquariums, or knick-knack shelves. This is a theme I have enjoyed and explored repeatedly over time.
From my earliest memories, I always felt a responsibility to do community work, to bring art to places where art doesn't live. I would hope that if I have ever done anything important, it would be that I brought art into the life of many people.
Living in New Mexico I've always been interested in highway memorials. I hate to think that my work revolves around issues of death, but I think death is transformation.
The roadside memorials, the religious icons in people's houses, the fact that many struggling people such as prisoners and troubled kids have religious iconography on their bodies interests me. It's fascinating. My recent work is addressing that fascination.
I live in a body that is very uncomfortable due to a back injury, so this new body of work addresses that. Sticking nails in clay is also a way of dealing with the discomfort.
In the mid-1980's, Eddie Dominguez began examining the way household objects function in our culture. Over the years he has "re-contextualized" just about every room in his house. And, in his own way, de-constructed tacky tourist trinkets, minimalism, the vessel, the landscape, dinnerware, race, craft, main-street and the family home.
And while there is an uplifting quality to Eddie's work, there is also an edgean edge between art and craft, between cute and beautiful, between Anglo and Hispanic, between chic and kitsch and between the mundane and the visionary.
The exhibit opens May 1 and can be viewed through June 13, 2008. A two to three minute video with remarks by the artist acompanies the exhibition. Please see the Museum's website for hours and admission fees.
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