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'The Color of the Tradition: Herencia Milenaria' Featured in NJCU's Lemmerman Gallery Feb. 2 through March 4; Artists' Reception on Feb. 10

'The Color of the Tradition: Herencia Milenaria' Featured in NJCU's Lemmerman Gallery Feb. 2 through March 4; Artists' Reception on Feb. 10

"The Color of the Tradition: Herencia Milenaria," an exhibit showcasing the ceramics of contemporary Mexico, will be shown Monday, February 2 through Wednesday, March 4 at New Jersey City University in the Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, Hepburn Hall, Room 323, 2039 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City.

Gallery hours are 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and by appointment. An artists' reception will be held 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 10. Admission is free and open to the community.

Curated by Chuck Plosky, an NJCU professor of art, and international artisan Angel Santos in consultation with Alicia Lopez-Rivera, the exhibit features world renowned contemporary Mexican ceramic art by the 22 members of the civic organization Herencia Milenaria (1,000-year heritage) of Tonalá, Jalisco, Mexico.

According to the curators, works in this exhibit were selected to provide "an opportunity for lovers of beautiful things to study superior examples of Mexican ceramic art. These marvelous works are made by artists who use their hands and hearts and minds to create brilliant and beautiful statements in this ancient material, clay."

Herencia Milenaria was founded in 2006 to provide the artists in Tonalá, a small Mexican town known for its clay creations, with a vehicle for placing their crafts and culture in an international forum and as a means of perpetuating their unique techniques. Many of the members of Herencia Milenaria are ceramic artists whose families have been working in the medium for more than 250 years.

Works created by Tonalá artists, many of which are housed in the Museo Nacional de la Cerámica de Tonalá, range from large vessels to miniature figures made using methods influenced by indigenous, Spanish, and modern techniques that have fused to make ten different styles of finishes: Barro Bandera (Flag Clay); Barro Betus (Betus Clay), also called "Fantastic Clay"; Barro Bruńido (Burnished Clay); Barro Canelo (Cinnamon Clay); Barro Engretado (Glazed Clay); Barro Natural (Natural Clay); Barro Negro Esgrafiado (Engraved Clay); Barro Opaco (Opaque Clay); Barro Oxidado (Oxidized Clay); and Barro Petatillo (Small Mat Clay).

The works of Tonalá's artists first gained international attention in 1921 when a groundbreaking exhibit of Mexican folk art was held in Mexico City. In 2002, a little more than 80 years later, Professor Plosky viewed the show's sequel at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City and, greatly impressed by the work, visited Tonalá, a suburb of Guadalajara in Jalisco. Professor Plosky met Mr. Santos, whose work had been featured in the New York show, and their subsequent collaboration with Harencia Milenaria led to "The Color of the Tradition."

"The Color of the Tradition: Herencia Milenaria" marks the first time since 1963 that Tonalá artists have exhibited in the New York metropolitan area. This exhibit, which was first shown at Iona College last fall as part of the international ceramic festival, "ALL-FIRED-UP," will restart a dialog between the artists of Mexico and those of the United States.

The NJCU opening reception is co-sponsored by the Mexican Tourism Board in New York City, the State of Jalisco, and NJCU's Council on Hispanic Affairs and Federacion de Estudiantes Latino-Americanos.

For further information about "The Color of the Tradition: Herencia Milenaria" call Dr. Midori Yoshimoto, NJCU director of campus galleries, at (201)200-3246.

January 12, 2009

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