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Field Spoils 

October 21 - November 22, 2023

Field Spoils is an exhibition exploring a personal perspective on modern-day agriculture told through the ceramic sculptures of Bay Area artist, Abiam Alvarez.

Abiam spent the first nine years of his love in Leon Guanajuato, Mexico before immigrating to the United States and settling in the small farming community of Firebaugh, California. He experienced working in the agricultural industry by spending his summers in the fields and attending school the rest of the year. His roots are closely tied to the Central Valley and he creates artwork that speaks of the labors and political issues surrounding agriculture, consumerism and immigrant workers. 

Coinciding with harvest season, this exhibition paid homage to our agricultural past and present, while also highlighting the people and families that have worked in the agricultural industry. As consumers, we seldom consider our privilege of having fresh produce year-round. What was once referred to as the Valley of Heart's Delight, Santa Clara Valley was dominated by vast orchards. Until the mid-20th century, this area was considered one of the largest producers of agricultural goods in the nation. However, with the growth of the tech industry came the transformation of the landscape resulting in the decline of farming in the area as well as many people's livelihoods. 

In this series, Abiam overwhelms the viewer with beautiful and skillfully made reproductions of produce grown in California's fertile valley. Using a medium made from earth, Abiam elevates the crops by the time-intensive process of hand-built ceramics and the careful application of glazes - displaying the finished artworks on pedestals. At first glance, these life-sized sculptures seem ordinary; however, upon closer inspection these works reveal contradictory details. Some sculptures show bountiful amounts of freshly harvested produce and take ona celebratory nature, while others appear to be in the process of decay or feature meager crops on a ground of arid soil. Abiam presents the viewer with subtle hints about the complicated interplay of politics, history, and the people involved in how we get one of our most valuable resources. 

About the Artist:
Abiam Alvarez is a ceramicist based in Gilroy, California. He attended California State University, Fresno, where he earned his BA in art and design with an emphasis in ceramics and sculpture. He later returned to earn his single subject teaching credential in art to teach high school art courses. in 2019, Abiam earned his MFA degree at San Jose State University. He teaches both high school and college ceramics while also workin on his own pottery and sculptures. He has 18 years of experience and continues to learn about the processes of contemporary and historical ceramics.  


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