By Filipina Lippi
                         May 3, 2015
 

Virginia-based Filipino artist Hadrian Mendoza is a potter with an exemplary expressionist style. He is known for his strikingly poetic functional pieces and expressive sculptural art works -- done since he decided to go full time into pottery in the late 1990s, after he saw a very active ceramic art scene during a visit to the Philippines. Looking for roots to anchor his exploration of ceramic arts in his original homeland at the time, Mendoza mastered the art and science of manipulating clay, glaze, and firing techniques with new found mentor, Jon Pettyjohn, another Fil-American based in the Philippines Mendoza developed a peripatetic eye for ever morphing shapes. He continues to experiment with earth, wind, and fire as precious, creative partners in the kiln. Under his hands, the ancient medium has bloomed into surprising creations in the past 20 years; raising the bar each time to more challenging levels in a post-modern expression that puts viewers in other artistic media in awe.
 

Mendoza’s one-man show entitled “Earth Fire Stone” at the 37-year old Zenith Art Gallery on Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Wash, DC, opens from April 28 until August 23, 2015. It showcases the various art works he has done with Philippine images, and their shifting transformations since he came back to the US with his wife and two children in late 2009.
 

The multi-awarded ceramic artist organized the first networking of Southeast Asian potters in 2009, after he received the Network Program Grant of the Toyota Foundation in 2007. It led to the holding of a first group show of 38 Southeast Asian potters at the Ayala Museum, Makati City, Philippines in 2009. A second group show of Southeast Asian potters was held at FLICAM Museums in Fuping, China in 2012, after Mendoza received the FuLe International Ceramic Arts Museum Grant” which included a one-month art residency for him and 22 other Southeast Asian potters in Fuping, China. Mendoza also organized the third Southeast Asian Ceramics Festival and Exhibition at The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia in October 2014, after he received the “Humanities Fellowship Grant” of the New York-based Asian Cultural Council. He has been a resident-artist at the Workhouse Arts Center in Virginia since March 2010.
 

Mendoza grew up in Virginia from the time his mother and two other siblings moved when he was seven years old. He finished business management at the University of Mary Washington in 1996 before embarking on art studies at Corcoran School of the Arts and Design also in 1996. He received the “Anne and Ronald Abramson Award for Excellence in Ceramics” from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC in April 1997. He honed his love for pottery in the Philippines from 1997 to 2009.
 

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia and his wife Maria Victoria are special guests at the opening night of Mendoza’s show at Zenith.