Jami Porter Lara uses a 2000-year-old process to make objects that resemble a ubiquitous icon of modern life—the plastic bottle. While exploring a remote stretch of the U.S./Mexico border, Porter Lara found two-liter bottles used to carry water—the most recent in a lineage of artifacts that remain from millennia of human travel through the region. Using these found objects as source, her purpose is to reconceptualize the plastic bottle to better represent its function as a precious object—a vessel—capable of sustaining human life. And within that purpose, her hope is to illuminate the necessity that feeds ubiquity; to expose the porous nature of “borders” as well as the “nature” of art and pollution; to record her interest in the permeability of all things human, natural, and technological. By pulling the plastic bottle away from the profane and towards what we perceive to be beautiful or natural or sacred, she hopes that human beings can find some forgiveness for ourselves and the things that we make, and seeks to provide a space to contemplate both an ethical beauty as well as an ethics of beauty in the face of human need.
Born in 1969 in Spokane, Washington, Jami has lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1980. Rejecting the notion that humanity is the opponent of nature, Jami is a conceptual artist whose approach to making remains deeply tied to her concern with cultural inheritances and with becoming a citizen of the the natural world. Jami's work is in public and private collections nationwide, and has been featured in Art 21 Magazine, CFile, Hyperallergic, and on PBS. In 2017, Artsy named her one of the artists changing the future of ceramics. Exhibitions include the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, NM; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA. She is represented by Central Features Contemporary Art in Albuquerque, Peters Projects in Santa Fe, and Stephanie Breitbard Fine Arts in San Francisco.