RAYMON ELOZUA

TRI-HARMONIC SERIES

“Tri-Harmonic” refers to the relationship between glass, ceramic and steel: materials that all use fire and heat as an essential means in their creation.

“In 2018, I decided to return to glass again in conjunction with ceramic and steel… work(ing) with Lorin Silverman at Urban Glass in Brooklyn. In addition to blown glass, I was interested in using mirror strips similar in nature to the enamelware photographic setups. The glass was created first – then I constructed a steel structure to suspend the glass shapes, which are removable for the kiln firings. Clay was added and the sculpture was fired for bisque the color. Metal angles were then welded at various angles as a support for two sided mirror strips, which were glued in place.” – Raymon Elozua

HUBRIS SERIES

Now that my vision is diminishing with age, I decided to re-create the experience of seeing out of focus. In 2010, utilizing a table top set up of old and new enamelware, I produced a series of richly colored “blurry” images that recalled my first visual experiences. In 2016, I thought it would be interesting to take these photos, to replicate the glowing amorphous shapes in ceramic and steel. I was not successful, hence the title, “Hubris.” Eyesight and clarity prevailed. – Raymon Elozua

GLASS R&D SERIES

The R&D (Research & Development) series was awarded a Virginia A. Groot Foundation grant in 2015. One piece also appeared in the New Glass Now exhibit, 2019, at the Corning Museum of Art.

“Working in the ceramic medium, I was always interested in the synthesis of different materials. From 1989 through 2001, I used steel rod and wire combined with 04 terra cotta in my sculptures. The “skeleton” of the steel provided a way to utilize clay in a more gravity-defying and spatial manner.

The medium of glass was attractive but I never had an occasion to explore it. In early 2013, I travelled to Corning, NY to meet Lorin Silverman. He is an expert glassblower and artist who graduated from Alfred University with a BFA in glass. He then worked for the Corning Museum as a resident technician helping artists to realize their vision in glass. We researched and developed a way to blow glass into a metal armature.

Glass is perhaps the most difficult medium that I have experienced but Lorin made it easy. Once the shapes were blown, using CAD drawings, I constructed a steel and wire structure, which was then covered with terra cotta and fired multiple times for color to Cone 04. The glass forms were then independently affixed to the sculptures. The tension between the fractured ceramic and the reflective glass is fascinating, a feeling of beauty born out of decay.” – Raymon Elozua

ABOUT

(b. 1947 West Germany, lives and works in Mountaindale, NY)

Raymon Elozua studied political science, sculpture and theater at the University of Chicago. These diverse and varied interests still hold a place within his visual arts practice, encompassing glass and ceramics-metal sculptures, photography and overall interest in historical ephemera.

Elozua is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Virginia Groot Foundation, as well as numerous National Endowment for the Arts Grants in Sculpture, Ceramics, and Paintings. Elozua is widely represented in private, corporate and museum collections throughout the USA including the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA), the Museum of Art and Design (New York, NY) and Progressive Corporation (Pepper Pike, OH). In 2003, the Mint Museum of Art and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design presented Constructing Elozua: A Retrospective (1973-2003) documenting his sculptures, paintings, photography and digital works.

Elozua has taught at New York University, Pratt School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, California College of Arts & Crafts and Louisiana State University. Alongside his visual arts practice, Elozua has launched websites that archive collections of material related to industry, labor, and history.

ON HIS WORK

I began to construct ceramic sculpture, starting in 1977, after a four year stint as a studio potter selling my work in the American Craft Council shows at Rhinebeck, NY and Baltimore, MD. My vessels often had sculptural components as part of the structure. Functionality was never a concern. I was both fortunate and lucky that the sculptures I made from 1977 through 1982 fit into the photo realist genre that was fashionable at the time. My work was ceramic masquerading as wood. My subject material was American industrial architecture of the early 1900’s. My model railroad hobby had meta-morphed into a fine art career. By 1982, I was bored by the repetition of a predictable style and subject material. I changed both the content and scale of my work and was promptly dropped by OK Harris Gallery in NY, despite having an excellent sales history for the past 4 shows.

Being “cut” affected me. I began to question the gallery system and the role of the artist in that model. Reading headlines about labor in America, I realized that others were experiencing their own personal displacements. I decided in 1985 to visit cities, which were home to “de-industrialization,” meaning the shuttering of steel mills with the attendant economic and personal abandonment and wreckage. Since that time, I have approached the making of art as a series of projects that interested me to pursue, no matter the subject matter or audience.

–Raymon Elozua

STATEMENTS ON EACH SERIES

TRI-HARMONIC

STATEMENT

In 2018, I decided to return to glass again in conjunction with ceramic and steel. Once more, I worked with Lorin Silverman; this time at Urban Glass in Brooklyn. In addition to blown glass, I was interested in using mirror strips similar in nature to the enamelware photographic setups. The glass was created first. I then  constructed a steel structure to suspend the glass shapes, which are removable for the kiln firings. Clay was added and the sculpture was fired for bisque the color. Metal angles were then welded at various angles as a support for two sided mirror strips, which were glued in place.

This series is entitled “Tri-Harmonic” referring to the relationship between glass, ceramic and steel, materials that all use fire and heat as an essential means in their creation.

Raymon Elozua, Tri-Harmonic B2, 2018-19, terra cotta, steel, hand blown glass and mirror, 43 x 32.5 x 52″

HUBRIS

STATEMENT | CATALOG

In the 5th grade at Our Lady Gate of Heaven, our teacher created a contest. Pointing to an image of a state on a map of the USA, each student, standing at the back of the classroom, would have to name the capital of that state.

I studied and studied and was reasonably certain I could win. The only problem, I could not discern the shapes of the state from the back. I asked the nun to keep moving forward until I could clearly see the shapes. Soon I was literally 6 feet away. I knew every capital but I do not recall if she awarded a prize. What I do know is that she called my parents and told them I needed glasses.

Soon I received a pair of new prescription glasses for near sightedness. Already branded a “teacher’s pet, I was now immediately also called “4-eyes.” Despite the negative social implications, what mattered now was that I could see clearly for the first time. Everything was sharp, ordered and definitive. Eyesight gave me a clarity, even a harshness of vision: the line, the curve, the edge with “level” and “perpendicular” defining space and volume.

Now that my vision is diminishing with age, I remembered this event. I decided to re-create the experience of seeing out of focus. In 2010, utilizing a table top set up of old and new enamelware, I produced a series of richly colored “blurry” images that recalled my first visual experiences.

In 2016, I thought it would be interesting to take these photos, to replicate the glowing amorphous shapes in ceramic and steel. I was not successful, hence the title, “Hubris.” Eyesight and clarity prevailed.

Raymon Elozua, “H: IMF-10:”, 2016, terra cotta, whiteware, glaze, steel rod and plate, 28 x 23 x 23″

R&D

STATEMENT | CATALOG

Working in the ceramic medium, I have always been interested in the synthesis of different materials.  From 1989 through 2002, I used steel rod and wire combined with 04 terracotta in my sculptures.  The “skeleton” of the steel provided a way to utilize clay in a more spatial and gravity-defying manner.

The medium of glass is attractive but I never had an occasion to explore it.  In 2013, I met Lorin Silverman, an expert glassblower and artist.  He worked for Corning Museum as a technician helping artists to realize their vision in glass.  We researched and developed a way to blow glass into a metal armature.

Glass is perhaps the most difficult medium I have utilized.  Once the glass shapes were created, using CAD drawings I constructed a steel and wire structure, which was then covered with terra cotta and fired multiple times for color to Cone 04.  The glass forms were then independently affixed to the sculptures.

The tension between the fractured ceramic with the reflective glass is fascinating, a feeling of beauty born out of decay.

The work of R&D Sculptures 2014: Ceramic, Steel and Glass was constructed, March 2013 – May 2014.

Raymon Elozua, “R&D VII RE-17-1”, 2014, ceramic, glaze, steel & glass, 38 x 23 x 43” – currently on loan at the Corning Museum of Glass

CURRENT + RECENT EXHIBITIONS


Year in Review 2015

YEAR IN REVIEW 2015 A review of last year's highlights and trends with special thanks to all who made it possible with their art, interest, encouragement, and support. Click here...

2015 SUMMER EVENTS

    SUNDAY JULY 19   |   CLAY IS HOT! GOOD BETTER BEST Panel Discussion and Dinner in the Gallery 1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams   JULY 25 &…

Elozua Awarded Groot Grant

In 2015, Elozua received a Virginia A. Groot Foundation grant for a new body of work. The R&D series of mixed media sculpture incorporates glass, ceramics, and steel.

GLAZED & DIFFUSED

Glazed & Diffused will be on view at Ferrin Contemporary’s gallery space at 1315 MASS MoCA Way in North Adams from June 20 through August 16, 2015. This survey exhibition will…

Raymon Elozua: Fire and Steel
American Ceramics Vol.11 #3

by Peter Von Ziegesar

“If the conventional thrown pitcher or teapot represents, in the mind of the potter, an attempt to distill something essential, beautiful and permanent about the human spirit and cast it into a material that is among the most lasting known to man, then Raymon Elozua’s pieces of the last two years try to do the opposite…”

Read full text here.

Constructing Elozua: A Retrospective, 1973–2003
Mint Museum of Craft + Design

This online career retrospective connects the threads of a 30-year body of work driven by Raymon Elozua’s fascination of materials, process, and his insatiable curiosity. It includes photography, ceramics vessels, sculptural landscapes, paintings, and computer-derived art.

Click here to explore Constructing Elozua: A Retrospective through imagery, video, interviews, and commentary presented by the Mint Museum.

Without Compromise: A Personal View of Raymon Elozua’s Art
by Garth Clark

“Elozua is one of those rare contemporary artists for whom art is not vocational choice, but is a trust and sacrament in which compromise and dishonesty are simply not options.”

Click to read full essay.

Raymon Elozua: How to Make a Teapot
by Edward Leffingwell

“Raymon Elozua came to the broad range of his work as an artist fired by a curiosity concerning process and driven by the avidity and range of his remarkable intelligence. ”

Click to read full essay.

RAYMON ELOZUA: Evolution of Steel and Ceramics

This catalog is a record of a portion of Raymon Elozua’s varied explorations into photography, websites, collections, and sculpture made of glass, steel, and ceramic. It documents Elozua’s relentless curiosity and enormous capacity for diverse inquiry, interpretation, and mastery.

RAYMON ELOZUA: R&D Sculptures 2014

In 2014, visual artist Raymon Elozua created a new body of mixed media sculpture, the R&D series, incorporating glass, ceramics, and steel. He received a Virginia A. Groot Foundation grant for this work. This catalog is a comprehensive documentation of this work.

RAYMON ELOZUA: Word Sculptures

Using digital technologies, Raymon Elozua extracts layers of colored shapes from abstract expressionist paintings. He then re-materializes the digital imagery into steel and ceramic sculptures. The work shown here was constructed during 2001 in New York City.

RAYMON ELOZUA, Hubris: Images Made Flesh

“Hubris” presents a juxtaposition of Elozua’s blurry photographic images with the precise, hard edges of his ceramic and steel sculptures. The photos recreate both a childhood nearsightedness and the deteriorating vision that comes with aging. “In 2016, I thought it would be interesting to take these photos and to replicate the glowing amorphous shapes in ceramic and steel. I was not successful, hence the title, ‘Hubris.’ Eyesight and clarity prevailed,” said Elozua of this body of work.

CONSTRUCTING ELOZUA: A Retrospective

This catalog was published on the occasion of the exhibition “Constructing Elozua: A Retrospective, 1973–2003” organized by the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina, and presenting the work of sculptor Raymon Elozua.

Foreword by Mark Richard Leach
Essays by Garth Clark, Melissa G. Post, and Edward Leffingwell