Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to present an exhibition of Pueblo artist, Virgil Ortiz’s clay sculpture and photographs: Venutian Soldiers, and an exhibition of paintings by Navajo artist, David Johns: Abstracted Landscapes. Both artists are featured at Zane Bennett Contemporary starting Thursday, August 16. This exhibition continues through September 20th with a public reception on Thursday, August 16 at the gallery, 435 South Guadalupe Street, from 5:00‐7:00 pm. The artists and several of the models for Ortiz’ figures will be present to sign posters and/or photographs.
Virgil Ortiz, a Native of Cochiti Pueblo, NM was born into a family of renowned potters. “I like to tell stories through my pottery and fashion, particularly those centered around the events and repercussions of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt.” This is the thrust of Ortiz’ latest work; Ortiz has created Native superheroes in clay, photography and video to express his personal interpretation of the Pueblo Revolt – the First American Revolution lead by the legendary Po’Pay. He calls this series Venutian Soldiers; these superheroes illustrate the events of the Revolt and honor a primitive and legendary society whose perseverance and survival continues to prevail in modern times.
Ortiz uses traditional materials and methods of hand coiling to create his clay figures and pots. After digging his own clay on Cochiti Pueblo, he builds the vessels by hand and slips them with local clays and makes his own paint from wild spinach which reads as black paint. Ortiz uses a traditional pit fire similar to raku to fire his pieces.
Ortiz’s Vertigo series was exhibited at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, France in May 2012, and the Foundation subsequently purchased a complete set (21 pieces) from Ortiz’ Vertigo series for their permanent collection.