Clay tales

Her art effectively integrates a world of fable that catches instantly. The "ingenuous" breath of the ceramic sculptures of Martha Jimenez is essentially due to the craft technique with which she builds her works, without enamels and almost monochromatic. 

For the Cuban ceramist Martha Jimenez the word is the mud. With the primitive material she narrates real stories and also sculpts legends of Cuba. All of them are nuanced with a wise imagination, which captures the surroundings and captures them in caressable forms, to give us a reality that, in miniature, is a reflection of the one we live.

Her border? This island, that she transcends in expressing it. Because looking at her bulky beings, immersed in everyday life - without obstructing walls, ceilings, time or space - lets see the set that we are, as if we were watching us from the window of an omnibus that crosses our streets. We see ourselves in the artist's interpretation, through her eyes and temperament.

In the terracotta of Martha covered with raku -that red and ductile clay collected in her native Camaguey- she exhibited in the transitional room of the Museo de los Capitales Generales, with the title "From land to life", the laureate creative summarizes our dreams, fantasies, hopes and realities. Permeated of humor and love, to conclude that we deserve a place under the sun.

A universe of clay becomes corporeal before the retinas. There are common characters from any neighborhood or city, sitting in parks, chatting, sleeping, singing ... men and women of daily life dressed in their form. Because Martha dreams and believes. Her expert workmanship effectively integrates a world of fable that catches at the first glance. The "naive" breath of the ceramic sculptures of Martha Jimenez is due in large measure to the craft technique with which she constructs her works, without enamels and almost monochromatic, extracting only different shades of clay, to be closer to the earth.

She, being nourished by the legacy of traditional art, violates the distinctive barriers between the cult and the vernacular in order to put in crisis a series of ankylosed definitions that limit creative expression. It is the Cuban life that she "portrays" there, it is our myths, defects and virtues that are observed in the volume. Between the pieces lords "Lovers under the time", with which the artist -graduated from the National School of Art Instructors in 1965- won the UNESCO International Prize, in addition to the one awarded to the best set of works in FIART 97.

The Blackout, Charge of love, among others, belong to a series on the current Cuban economic crisis (Special Period) and are worked with the lamp and the lantern "to tell the story of this time"; Nap, Confidences, Nest ... are popular and baroque altarpieces that travel between dimensions. In all assault the goblins of the imagination that leave the right hands of an artist, who also know how to model and convey the grace, lightness and vitality of the contours materialized in her artistic speech. With her ceramics, Martha Jimenez illuminates with her own light, the already fertile Cuban pottery of these times.


Author: Toni Pinera
Source: Opus Habana Magazine