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 Priscilla Hoback  (1939 - )

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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: stone murals and animal portrait sculpture

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Biography from Nedra Matteucci Galleries:
Priscilla Hoback is a native Santa Fean whose work in glazed clay reflects the richness of northern New Mexico.  Hoback has worked as an artist in Santa Fe since the 1960’s.  Over the years the deep blue sky, the crispness of mountain air, the muted tones of the desert landscape and, above all, the omnipresent culture of ancient Indians have made a profound impression on Hoback.  These things have been the inspiration for her production of stone murals; animal portraits in fired clay reminiscent of the cave murals of Lascaux and Altamira.

The process of production is multi-layered. Hoback begins by digging the indigenous clay around her home in Galisteo, New Mexico.  She refines the clay as well as the native pigments which she will apply to the clay.  Eventually, slabs of soft clay are cut into shapes, and an image is quickly and deeply incised into the clay. At this point mineral colors are often applied to the moist surface, and the clay is bisque-fired; fired at a relatively low temperature.  Once the clay has slightly hardened, Hoback applies mineral slips and glazes to the new surface. The clay pieces are then fired at 2300 degrees.  The minerals vitrify: the substance fuses into a glass-like, stony hardness.

Through this unique and intense alchemical process, Hoback ironically captures in her work the gentle soul of a host of animals: ravens, geese, herons, wolves, bears and horses.

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