Sueños / Yume: Fifty Years of the Art of Dora De Larios at the Craft and Folk Art Museum
September 27, 2009 – January 10, 2010
Internationally acclaimed, Los Angeles-born ceramist Dora De Larios is the subject of a breathtaking retrospective that opens this fall at CAFAM. Inspired by the interplay of diverse cultures and study of world religions, De Larios’s art speaks a universal language that reflects her unique pan-cultural vision. Whether in intimate ceramic pieces or large mixed-media public murals, De Larios strives to harmonize the animal and the spiritual, the earthly with the divine. Curated by preeminent American ceramics scholar Elaine Levin, Sueños / Yume (“dreams” in Spanish and Japanese)chronicles the life and dreams of Dora De Larios.
De Larios’s ability to translate universal human experiences into mystical works of art accounts for her international appeal. Recognized as one of America’s most important clay artists in Who’s Who in American Art, De Larios grew up in a downtown Los Angeles neighborhood in which Japanese nisei and Mexican-Americans lived side-by-side. She spent her childhood summers visiting family in Mexico and studied world religions and ancient art at the University of Southern California. After graduation, De Larios embarked on an around-the-world adventure to explore the diversity of cultures, religions, and art. “I began to see the patterns and similarities between myths in various cultures,” De Larios recalls. “There were different names for the deities, but they served the same purpose. They were positive or destructive forces.” This revelation, and her status as a Latina in an art world dominated by white males, concentrated De Larios’s subject matter on the exaltation of divine feminine forms.
De Larios’s body of work ranges from international commissions and large-scale sculptures to intimate figurines and functional pottery. Each piece is infused with a deep reverence of the spiritual and dream-like aspects of life: The face of a goddess emerges from a six-foot totem or wall sculpture; Hieroglyph-like shapes are incised on plaques and platters; Deep mineral colors and rich earthy glazes recall ancient traditions. Her artistic world is populated by mythological creatures and goddesses that are at once whimsical and fierce.
De Larios has been recognized nationally and internationally numerous times in the course of her fifty-year career. In 1977, De Larios was one of 14 potters selected to make a dinnerware set for the White House; In 1979, she created a 26-foot mural gift to sister-city Nagoya, Japan; Numerous site-specific sculptures are found in Southern California hotels, public spaces, and collections; and her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in New York, the Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Don’t miss this long-awaited retrospective this fall at CAFAM.
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