Perfect happens every day. Perfect occurs all around us without notice while
we search for our individual idea of perfection. Tré Arenz’s figurative
ceramic works and drawings are an exercise in alertness, appreciating the
extraordinary in the ordinary, and the reward of repeating physical activity.
“The more virtual we get, the less physical we get, and the less physical we
get, the more afraid we get,” states Arenz, who is mindful of society’s
predilection for discounting lived experience. Arenz practices mindfulness,
carefully considering the act and experience of each step she takes in her
work. Physical experience brings physical trust. Her care is witnessed in
the layers of her works.
Drawings on paper begin with a dirt and acrylic foundation and are layered
with variations of charcoal, dirt, pastels, conté crayon and colored pencils.
Fixative and mediums preserve each constructed layer. Her objects, with their
crusty, warm, earthy glazes are often scarred with one brazen use of color
that jolts the viewer into staying with the work to consider the message.
Arenz means for her work to be accessible, to not turn people away. However
it is not “dumbed-down” for the audience. Her sharp wit and insight are
evident in works such as Queenie, created after the September 11th attacks.
The child-scaled figure with her hopeful and helpless posture bears a
shockingly blood-red crown.
She also effectively displays our conflicted psyches with her Polyanna heads.
These inherently trusting and hopeful souls with flip do’s and bows wear
expressions of utter shock. Always playful in her provocation, works such
as Satyr and One of Us reveal her penchant for humorously translating literal
meanings in clay.
Coming from a musical family, Arenz searches for the tempo and harmony within
her works. The clay pellets she conceals within her hollow three-dimensional
objects seem a literal nod to her musical self and at the same time serve as
a “perverse ceramic joke” meant to surprise the eager show-goer or new owner
with the melodic “rattle.”
Tré Arenz received her BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in
1975 and her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. She is the
recipient of many prestigious awards and grants such as the Connemara Conservancy
Foundation Grant and a Rockefeller Foundation Study Grant in Bellagio, Italy.
She conducts frequent workshops and lectures around the country. The American
Craft Museum has just invited Tre Arenz to participate in an upcoming traveling
exhibition being organized by that museum. Arenz’s work has been commissioned
by the City of San Antonio Convention Center, the City of Austin Art in Public
Places projects and the Austin Zoo and appears in numerous public collections
including the Austin Museum of Art, Houston Power and Light and the Jack S.
Blanton Museum of Art.