Arthur Gonzalez

Arthur Gonzalez is an internationally exhibiting artist with over fifty one-person shows in the last forty years, including eight in Manhattan, New York. He has received many awards including the Virginia Groot Foundation twice and is an unprecedented four-time recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship within a ten-year period. He is also in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art in Gifu, Japan, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the Oakland Museum of California and also the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. He is a tenured Professor at the California College of the Arts (formerly CCAC). Gonzalez has been an artist-in-residence in many places including University of Georgia, Athens, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Penland School of Craft, North Carolina, University of Akron in Ohio, Tainan National University in Taiwan, Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Washington, and the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana.

I am a symbolist. The content of the work that I make comes from a symbolist mentality. In respect to the oldest usage of art, the work poses questions regarding the unknowns of day-to-day life. All of my work has the specific intent of conveying a personal complexity that challenges the viewer by walking into a kind of mystery through the appearance of a narrative. However, instead of narrative, per se, the subjects are more like symbols-in-action, presenting a situation that, although alludes to a narrative, is more like activated metaphors.

The current series that I am working on is called “The Fence in the Hole”. This is a series of work where I am investigating the usage of flat planes of organic shapes that co-exist with the figure. The attempt is to marry the two forms to create new compositions. The quest is to show different examples of this devise and how the flat plane becomes a stand-in for missing objects. With each piece, the dynamics between subjects and plane are different. This is a standard problem that I pose to the work: given a set of criteria, how many different answers can I discover?

Every piece that I make is unique in terms of how it begins. In the case of “The Space between the Shadow and the Floor”, the piece began with the title itself. What is in a title? Originally, this title was more like a metaphysical phrase. By itself, this title can stand alone as a line of conceptual text. I wanted to explain a space that does not really exist in nature, the imagined idea that if a shadow and the floor are actually sandwiching an invisible space that is imagined but cannot be found, then the resulting belief can be an idiom for

“faith”. Then again, the title could refer to the physical sculpture itself and the negative space between the bottom of the shadow form and the floor below.

On the other hand, the basic pose in “Broken Magic” is reminiscent of nineteenth century genre painting of the curious little girl who holds up a bug. The pose is a visual metaphor for curiosity and discovery as she contemplates an inner ear, my personal symbol for balance. The history of myth is the history of understanding reality through story and representations. Myth is a tool for the clarification of life, as is a periscope for the skies.