Enrique Avilez


Artist Statement

(abbreviated - click here to download full statement in English & Spanish)

Why I do this kind of art?

I admire nature. I marvel at the perfection that the marine coral forms, the textures of the reefs. I love the beauty of wood and stones: its whimsical forms speak to me about freedom.  I especially choose to model with moist clay, I like to feel the material in my hands. I know that the substance is organic and has life.

How I do it, what is the technique and materials?

Everything is from the earth, adobe, clay and found objects; The objects are sometimes trash, pieces of stone, seeds, roots, shells, branches, bones of animals, parts of computers... All I find interesting:  I will take it to my studio, where I keep it for an indefinite time, until I incorporate it into a new sculpture. I like to know where the things I carefully select are from. I usually collect them from the landscape and the various places I visit often. I also collect different types of clay and mud, keep them moist in an optimal state to use at any time. I like to unite the different elements to create figures, especially human anatomy because my best way of understanding life is projecting my self in nature.

What inspires me?

The connection that is established with the people who see my work motivates me; the expression in their faces, their state of amazement and surprise is something that gives me joy for many reasons: Mostly, because I created it while playing but also because I like to believe that my works of art can contribute to healing the ecological damage that is made to the planet.

¿Por qué hago este tipo de arte?

Porque admiro la naturaleza, me maravilla la perfección de las formas del coral marino, las texturas de los arrecifes; amo la belleza de la madera: sus caprichosas formas me hablan de libertad y -en especial- elijo trabajar con barro, tierra húmeda para modelar, me gusta sentir el material entre mis manos, sé que el material es orgánico y tiene vida.

¿Cómo lo hago, cual es la técnica y materiales?

Todo está en la tierra, el adobe y objetos encontrados; los objetos son en ocasiones basura, pedazos de piedra, semillas, raíces, conchas, ramas, huesos de animales, partes de computadoras… todo lo que me resulta interesante: lo junto, lo llevo a mi taller, en donde lo guardo por tiempo indefinido, hasta que lo incorporo a una nueva escultura. Me gusta saber en dónde están las cosas que cuidadosamente selecciono del paisaje y de los diferentes lugares que acostumbro visitar; también colecciono diferentes tipos de arcillas y barro, los mantengo húmedos en estado optimo para usarlos en cualquier momento, me gusta unir los diferentes elementos para crear figuras, en especial anatomía humana porque mi mejor forma de entender la vida es proyectándome en la naturaleza.

¿Qué es lo que me inspira?

Me motiva la conexión que se establece con las personas que ven mi obra, el estado de asombro y sorpresa que reflejan sus rostros es algo que me da alegría por muchas razones: primero, porque lo hago jugando y también porque me gusta creer que mi obra de arte puede contribuir a sanar el daño ecológico que se hace al planeta.

More from Enrique Avilez

When people see my sculptures they are surprised by the unusualness of the material, some see it as mud and trash, the vast majority see poetry, others see what we are made of, I like it when people say “They are alive!” projection of their emotions and beliefs in material as humble as the raw earth seems to me a window to compassion and respect for life, all life.

In some parts of the planet the soil is so damaged, polluted, that no plants or flowers grow anymore, in these places my sculptures are very valuable, not so much for the art, but because the mud/clay I use is virgin, fertile soil; what is paradoxical is that perhaps one day these earth sculptures will be jealously guarded in a museum of natural history of the planet and not in an art museum.

The transmutation of consciousness has beauty when respect happens to places, flora and fauna that are the balance of our own lives.

On the ground floor of my art studio, on top of the main door there is a window I have a piece of fusing glass that measures 2′ x 2′ x 1/2″, after 3 p.m. a beautiful light enters that changes intensity until it disappears when the sun is hidden. On cement and wood walls I have built different levels of shelves to place books, containers with brushes and spatulas, also in the high parts of the shelves I have sculptures in process, rolls of paper with drawings and sketches. The main work table is 3’ high and a surface of 4’x4′, the objects and materials that move on the table are always changing, cohabiting and saying goodbye with drills, flexometers, screws and tool boxes that go up and down, Sometimes, the table fills so much with a lot of stuff that it is necessary to clarify and decide, as we do with thoughts [when we think].

In the process of creation there are no rules, sometimes that apparent chaos is necessary, one night can be enough to turn all the elements, everything can happen at the same time: the crying, the madness, the joy, the love and a sculpture is born.

Coral pieces of recycled metal, computer parts, appliance parts, dried leaves, barks, sea shells, wooden blocks, maps of different cities stapled on the walls and some important publication or upcoming commitment on striking color paper, a piece of broken ceramic plate that I found in a bazaar, which has a truly inspiring grape painting on it. On the highest shelf, a 2’ tall woman-sculpture sits on a cube, has a crossed leg, while her arms rest, her neck keeps her head firmly erect with her gaze fixed on the distant horizon of the sea visible through the window.