Soul connections: artists and their art
By Marcia Wolff
O look again within yourself,
For I know you were once the elegant host,
to all the marvels of creation.
The marvels of creation are vast and diverse. They are carried within the individual and conveyed in a unique and brilliant way. In my own experience, six people in a writing group can look at and write about the same painting, but each piece has different angles, different emotions and different details.
The same is true for the artist who chooses to be “the elegant host to all the marvels in creation.” What inspires the artist? What impacts her life? What drives his passion?
José Pascual Hijuelos opened his exhibition at the Galeria Skot Foreman in the Fabrica La Aurora. Wondering, as I look around at the geometric offerings, I ask what is behind his creations and what are his inspirations? After serving in the military in World War II, Pascual received an MFA in painting. He was impacted by post-war abstract painting, a time where structures and humans were destroyed, a time of disillusion and stark reality at the damage of war. The abstract art of Mark Rothko, Jimmy Ernst and Al Held nurtured his aesthetics. Additionally, Pascual sang polyphony in a choir as a young boy and was moved by the mystical and magic of medieval music in Gregorian chants, as well as their asymmetry and harmony. Greek mythology, such as the story of Sisyphus and the design of the labyrinth, subjects of previous exhibitions, has molded his work.
Gazing at each painting, I am aware of the sharp geometric abstractions in shades of black, grey and white, sometimes yellow or red. But upon closer observation there is much more. In the painting “Canto Nocturno,” (Night Song,) high dark walls, grey-running-to-black, an opening, a portal to somewhere mysterious, yet there is a small square of white light guiding the way. In contrast, the painting “Untitled”, an array of yellow gold surrounds a black structure, a church with the steeple pointing to the heavens; a small black square hovers nearby. Here, the vast light has taken over; the dark of the church is smaller, the dark square humbled by light.
A grouping of paintings, jagged crosses of red surrounded by mottled grey titled “Canto Doloroso,” (Painful Song,) I, II, and III, may depict the blood of wars, wars in the name of religion that fracture and fragment lives. Everything that is in creation, even light, even mystery, even destruction, the artist can be host to.
Artist Kathleen Cammarata, as she looks within, is an “elegant host” to the creation and destruction within nature. Her passion lies in revealing the powerful acts of nature through birth, death and rebirth. While her art is abstract, there is a sensual swirling feel of movement, power and awe that nature’s action evokes. She grasps the vital and various gross states of billows and folds floating in space, and at the same time presents minute details of inner simmering, spewing, seeping, spitting and the major and minor explosions that nature offers. The transparency of layers creates a cohesive unit; albeit a unit that is at once peaceful and active. Cammarata is skillful with creating textures that are laid down early in the painting process; these ultimately become unusual projections of shadows, depth and utter beauty.
Cammarata is new on the artscape of San Miguel de Allende. However, she has been painting for 30 years and spent most of those years participating in solo and juried exhibitions in New England and the Boston area. She studied art at Montclair State University in New Jersey. While there is a subtle political commentary underneath her erotic and gorgeous oil paintings, there primarily is a visceral feel of beauty, form and meaning that touches a deep place, a place that exists without words.
Besides her series of nature giving birth to forms, hurricanes, explosions that move mystically in space, her most recent series on climate change has an ethereal, yet grounded feel. This series is both figurative and abstract. Each large canvas guides us through a process of coming to awareness as we move from painting to painting with such titles as “Water Bearer,” “Harbinger,” “Reflection,” “Cloudburst” and “Watershed.” Each painting has a touch of blue sky to offer hope. The mystery of nature and the mystical figure in each painting guides us not only to see the delicate beauty of nature, but also to heed the power of change and how it impacts us as we ponder what our part is in it.
Cammarata has an open studio on the first Sunday of each month at Galería Esperanza at Alameda 6.
Marcia Wolff, MA, is the author of Friction Becoming Pearl: a Slow Awakening. She offers classes in writing and collage making. For information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.