First Friday: Engrossing overview of the ceramics of Eddie Dominguez at Kiechel Fine Art
by L. Kent Wolgamott via the Lincoln Journal Star, Lincoln, Nebraska
During the pandemic, Eddie Dominguez carved lines that created horizons, undulating land and vegetation into clay tiles, fired the clay, then brushed on oil paint and glaze to create what have to be called ceramic paintings.
The brightly colored “Nebraska Landscape” of a plowed field and trees, “Nebraska Landscape II” with five tall corn plants standing in front of a rolling field and self-explanatory “Nebraska Sunset” are among the tiles that highlight Dominguez’s impressive Kiechel Fine Arts exhibition
At 43 pieces, the show that fills the gallery’s first floor is the largest ever from Dominguez and a rare exhibition by the acclaimed ceramicist and University of Nebraska-Lincoln art professor, whose last Lincoln show was of pastel drawings at Lux Center for the Arts in 2018.
While focusing on record work, the exhibition includes a version of one of his earliest, groundbreaking pieces, “Anton’s Flowers,” a “dinner set” in which Dominguez stacks and stands brightly colored plates, cups, platters and saucers to create a flower garden
A 1997 “Anton’s Flowers” is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, evidence of Dominguez’s standing as a ceramist.
Two more “dinner sets” are on view at Kiechel, including the show’s most impressive piece.
“Black Velvet Fish Dinner” is a “custom fish tank” created from a wooden box covered with bronze sheeting. Behind its glass door, Dominguez uses vases, a half-dozen salt-and-pepper shakers, cups and platter to create an underwater scene with plates standing in for fish and stacks of vessels becoming the undersea vegetation.
Since 2010, Dominguez’s back has served as a form for some of his ceramic work, his body depicting the “Tucumcari Mountain” in one of “torsos” and the New Mexico peak “El Capitan” in another. But several of the works are far more personal, created by Dominguez after he underwent back surgery and could not use a wheel to throw clay.
So several of the torsos depict a spine running down to the pelvis over, to choose one example, a “Backbone Sunset.” Another torso is anchored by “Praying Hands,” and one, which features a light blue sky over a landscape under the spine is simply titled “Backbone (Dominguez),” an overt acknowledgement that, regardless of its overt subject matter, all of Dominguez’s art is about Dominguez.
Another set of works — large crosses emblazoned with images of praying hands, peace signs and doves are scattered throughout the gallery. For Dominguez, those works are simply about New Mexico, where he’s from and spends time each year. But, whether he will acknowledge or not, they’re infused with Catholicism, taking on a very religious/spiritual feel.
The other major sets of work are plates and platters that, like the tiles, are turned into landscapes of Nebraska and New Mexico, and “totems” stacks of brightly colored cups with faces and horns.
Each of those groupings could have been an exhibition in itself. That’s particularly the case with the titles that line on of the galleries walls and moves to the largest tile that could be fired –”The Pond,,” a beautiful 29 ¾ by 34 inch depiction of a treeline farm pond that weighs in at 65 pound.
Together, however, they provide an engrossing overview of the innovative, personal work of one of the country’s top ceramicists who is among the very best of Lincoln.
IF You Go
What: Eddie Dominguez Solo Exhibition
Where: Kiechel Fine Art, 1208 O St,
When: Through Aug. 15
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday
First Friday: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @KentWolgamott