A solo exhibition of works by SFA Professor of Ceramics Piero Fenci will open at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft on Friday, June 1. "Piero Fenci - Battlement" honors the artist for being named the 2012 Texas Master by the center.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - After naming Stephen F. Austin State University Professor of Art Piero Fenci a Texas Master in 2011, the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts is opening a solo exhibition of the artist's work in the center's Small Gallery on Friday, June 1.

At 5:30 p.m., Fenci will give an artist talk, and a reception will follow from 6 to 8 p.m.

Fenci is the first ceramicist to be named Texas Master, an honor the HCCC bestows upon established career artists working in Texas who have made a significant impact in the craft field.

"Piero was chosen for his innovative approach to ceramics along with his strong commitment to teaching and promoting his field in Texas and abroad," said Anna Walker, curator of the HCCC.

"I feel so blessed by this recognition," said Fenci. "Plus, I am honored that many of my colleagues and former students plan to attend the opening."

"Piero Fenci - Battlement," which will run through Saturday, Sept. 1, features a wide variety of Fenci's work from the past five years. The ceramic pieces reflect the inspiration he has found in traditional origami, Japanese armor, Shaker hatboxes and tinware. The pen and ink drawings complement the sculptures' forms.

"I take these archetypes, filter them through my psyche, and intuitively connect them. My work, therefore, constitutes loosely rendered re-inventions of the past; they are my attempt to build a family tree of spiritual ancestors, a heritage of my own passions," Fenci said.

Fenci said being named a Texas Master has created significant interest in his work.

For example, two of his pieces have been purchased for display at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport as part of the City of Houston Portable Works Collection. Another piece will be featured on a fall episode of Bravo TV's "Million Dollar Decorators."

Fenci joined the SFA faculty in 1975 after receiving his Master of Fine arts from the New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University and a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from Yale University.

Under his direction, the SFA ceramics program has developed into one of the best in the nation for a university of its size.