Artist Lecture: Renata Cassiano Alvarez

November 15, 2023
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Schaver Music Recital Hall
480 W. Hancock
Detroit, MI 48201
Event category: Lecture

Artist Lecture by Renata Cassiano Alvarez
Date: November 15, 6:30-7:30, doors open at 6PM
Location: Schaver Recital Hall, Old Main


Artist Biography

Renata Cassiano Alvarez is a Mexican-Italian artist and interpreter born in Mexico City and currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Arkansas School of Art. Cassiano Alvarez works predominantly in the medium of clay, in a search for developing an intimate collaborative relationship with material and material language. Influenced by archeology and history, she is interested in the power of the object as survival - objects with a sense of permanence and timelessness, and language as transformation; specially how adopting a different language can affect the physicality of the human body, and how this translates into material. Educated in Mexico, Italy, Denmark and the US, she has had the opportunity to work in different artistic environments, a cross-cultural and multimedia experience which has lead to the belief that craft is an evolving field and something that exists in motion. Her practice has extended to the interpreting field, where she functions as a bridge for non English speakers. Her work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in public and private collections in Mexico, Estonia, Italy, Taiwan, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, China, USA and Slovenia. She works between her studio in Veracruz, Mexico and Springdale, Arkansas.

Artist Statement

My practice is deeply informed by my family and my context as a Latin American. Both my parents are archeologists who dedicated their lives to deciphering the remnants of our past. Through this lens, I see the object as survival - objects with a sense of permanence and timelessness. My life has been filled with artifacts from my ancestors, belonging to religious and life rituals, and they are present in my making through form. Ceramics to me, embodies the natural vulnerability that exists within all of us, and the tension between ephemerality and endurance.

The engagement with craft is vital within my practice. I believe craft is the pursuit of an intimate relationship with material that is dynamic, and which allows for the grounding of self to our own existence through our actions with material. Time unmakes us constantly, but with every gesture imprinted we save the now and make it tangible against the imitable march of time. This belief has been present since I first started working with clay, and has persisted and guided me until now. I became both the maker and the archaeologist of my own practice. My sculptures are the artifacts from the constant ritual of transformation, visceral witnesses of what happens within. I excavate and interpret them, looking to give meaning to it all.

“Having witnessed over a decade of her creative growth, I can say that I admire and respect the freedom and the force of her work, the energy it contains, the endless curiosity it shows, and the risk it implies. And also how it goes playfully from one theme to another giving always a strong impression of love for ceramics and a deep understanding of what clay and fire are, what they can be when handled with knowledge and passion. For the little part I did play in the development of her career, I am grateful. Her vibrant energy and endless ability to question the assumptions of our material makes her stand out among all of the young artists I have known and worked alongside. “ (Gustavo Perez, Mexico 2019)

November 2023