He presents several etudes—compelling collections of pieces that were mastered during his isolation as an artist in La Union, especially during the pandemic. The compositions of Solon Perfecto reflect portraits of survival and death and landscapes of isolation in pottery, a fine presentation of studies of strength and of solitude.
The magnus opus of the exhibition is the Torn At Birth collection. Solon Perfecto’s blend of wheel-thrown Indian stoneware and foraged wild red clays resulted in distorted and distressed vessels with hand-painted satin iron and copper red glaze. Presented in quartets and trios, the dark clay vessels capture motion and loss of life at its peak and most fresh, a memorial to those that failed the survival of the fittest.
The exhibition also contains two collections subtly bearing a strong Solon Perfecto signature—functional glasses in the artist’s iconic shape. The God Gene Glasses series is composed of wheel-thrown glasses in Thailand stoneware glazed in ash-based celadon and hand-painted with ash-based copper red glaze. Solon Perfecto interprets them as vessels that are the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the golden apple of discord and beauty. Only the worthy are allowed to drink from the vessel to manifest their divinity.
The Demi-God Glasses series is composed of wheel-thrown glasses in Thailand and wild red clay stoneware blend that are glazed in ash-based celadon and hand-painted with ash-glazed copper red glaze. In Solon Perfecto’s mythology, it is laced with the God gene and is ultimately a vessel for the nectar of the gods. Both the God Gene Glasses series and the Demi-God Glasses series may be interpreted as vessels of celebration for those individuals who are best adjusted to their environment and the most successful in surviving.
The Party 4 One series honours Solon Perfecto’s training in classical Asian style ceramics. The wheel-thrown sake set pair (bottle and cup) in Thailand stoneware glazed in ash glaze is purposely made for only one person as an acknowledgment of the artist’s hermitage in pottery.
Études in Survival invites its viewers to isolate themselves in solitude and celebrate both adjusting to their environments and succeeding in surviving akin to Jose Solon Perfecto’s long saga in the world of pottery art and, most importantly, establishing himself as a respected pottery artist based in the wild, wild north—La Union.
Written and curated by Augusto Castro, former museum director and curator