In Alvarez’s objects the primordial and futuristic meet. Oscillating between expression and constraint and advancing technological innovation while also utilising traditional craftsmanship, Alvarez’s sculptural forms challenge our perception of weight and gravity and appear both of this world and utterly separate from it. The glazed coloured objects can seem like they have landed from a far-flung place, while the unglazed and dyed stoneware remind us of archaeological remnants from a more ancient time.
While the process of creation is controlled, the results are always unexpected, with Alvarez embracing the alchemy between wet clay and kiln and the uncontrollable ‘imperfections’ of the ceramic process. Resembling a large soft milk ice cream machine, Alvarez’s extruder exerts 3 tonnes of pressure, squeezing the wet clay through an array of different moulds, forcing folds and splits to occur. These then drop onto a plate that can be positioned at various heights, giving the artist a small measure of control. Alvarez continuously fine-tunes his inventions, embracing chance and accident within these engineered machines. The technology created by the artist to aid in the works creation are inextricable from the artist’s work, and even from himself. They highlight the way in which an artist can become both craftsman and engineer, and the tension between these two roles.
With an emphasis on a formal instability the works in The Flavour is So Strong present an artist in dialogue with the centuries old ceramic tradition but not defined by it. Alvarez continues to playfully push the boundaries, creating works rich in tradition and at the same time utterly unconventional to create a truly unique and surprising sculptural environment.