The Encounter Group by Louis Mendez displayed in Scholes Library
New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University recently acquired The Encounter Group a sculpture by artist and alum Louis Mendez (BFA ’52, MFA ’54). The hand-built, pit-fired sculpture was donated by Mendez’s wife Dianne-an avid supporter of the School of Art and Design. Mendez passed away in 2012, making its installation in the Samuel R. Scholes Library of Ceramics a fitting tribute to his legacy as an influential ceramic sculptor.
Mendez is remembered by his students as an engaging teacher, holding positions at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the Philadelphia College of Art, and the Ohio State University in Columbus, where he was an Associate Professor of Art and Chairman of the Graduate Faculty in the Ceramics Department.
“In his quest to capture the remnant vitality of ancient images and to interpret these forms in a highly personal idiom, he created a body of work at once decorative, evocative, and original.” 
The Encounter Group, made in 1989, is a fine example of his iconic body of work-“largely figurative ceramic sculpture inspired by a consistent esthetic allied to both the ancient origins of cultures and a modernist treatment of forms and surfaces.”
“Mendez is well known for his signature ‘Spanish Hand-Building Technique,’ using highly textured slabs, whose surface designs are suggestive of archetypal images that tend to recur across many ancient cultures. The technique contributed materially to the transformation of ceramics from ‘craft’ to ‘art form’, allowing the construction and firing of works in clay without the use of an armature.”
The piece is available for public viewing on the main floor of the Samuel R. Scholes Library located at the New York State College at Alfred University, 2 Pine Street Alfred, NY 14803
For current Library hours see our website: https://scholes.alfred.edu/