For over 30 years, the Huntsville Museum of Art has presented a noteworthy series of solo exhibitions highlighting regional contemporary artists. These Encounters exhibitions afford viewers an opportunity to see how creative inspiration combines with subject and materials to convey a unique artistic expression. The latest exhibition in this long-standing series focuses on the accomplished works of the engaging mixed-media sculptor, Aimee Perez.

Aimee Perez (b. 1955, Havana, Cuba), Rare Harvest, 2016, mixed media, 65 x 13 x 13 in. Museum Purchase, Funds Provided by the Dr. John Rison Jones, Jr. Acquisitions Endowment and the Susy and Robert Thurber Acquisitions Endowment.

Aimee Perez left her home in Havana, Cuba with her family at age 12. They moved to Miami, Florida through the Freedom Flights and she grew up there in a Cuban immigrant community. Perez won the Gold Key Award in painting as a young adult, as well as several honorable mentions while she continued her pursuit of the arts during her college years. In 1989, she moved to Mexico City and continued painting and exhibiting with Cuban and Mexican artists. She absorbed influences of Mesoamerican art that continue to resonate in her work. In 1997, she was invited to participate as a guest artist in the studio of Mexican sculptor Jose Sacal, where she began to work in 3-D with clay for the first time. She returned to Miami in 2006 and continued her work, winning several awards for her figurative ceramics in the state of Florida.

Aimee Perez, The Weaver, 2017, ceramic, 19 x 22 x 8 in. Collection of the artist.

Perez’s artmaking practice centers around human form. Her sculptures are expressionistic and powerful, and she has been praised for her command of gestures. She highlights the figures’ gestures, emotions, lives and relationships, creating archetypes that transcend the context of their story. Perez says her work is her voice, a dialogue with the observer and simultaneously a self-exploration.

Through the exploration of contemporary, religious and biblical themes, Perez creates sculptures that explore the paradoxical truths of suffering and redemption, grief and comfort. She works with various types of clays fired at high or low temperatures and surfaced with oxide washes, slips, terra sigillata, engobes and glazes. She has also been known to layer her pieces with wax, metals, glass, fiber, and found objects.

The artist’s most recent works pay homage to the relationship that once existed between the manual labor performed by women in indigenous groups, their connection to nature, and their ability to pass along tradition through storytelling. Perez believes that the repetitive process of weaving, knotting fibers, and molding clay creates a meditative state that links women to nature. Once this process stopped due to social changes and technological progress, their relationship with nature weakened or stopped altogether, jeopardizing family and community health.

Encounters: Aimee Perez opens in the Grisham gallery of the Huntsville Museum of Art on April 10, 2022, led by a Gallery Walk and Reception at 2 p.m. that afternoon. Access to the opening event will be included with the general price of admission and free for members. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here. The exhibition will be on display until July 10, 2022. It is made possible by the lead sponsor, The Kuehlthau Family Foundation.