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Gestures in Paper, Paint, and Clay

By Kathleen Cammarata

The word create, from the Latin creare, means to bring something into existence, to cause something to happen as a result of one’s actions. This is the first gesture in a piece of art, the gesture of the artist. The drawing, the painting, the sculpture is a recording of the movement of the hand to express the meaning of the mind. The material under the touch of the hand informs that touch by its malleable or rigid qualities. Thus the artist engages with the medium.

Gestures in Paper, Paint, and Clay
Sun, Mar 6, 1–5pm
Esperanza Studio
Alameda 6
Colonia San Antonio

The second gesture is inherent in the piece of art. A line created by a brush or a wire can simulate a sense of energy. A line in and of itself has no natural energy. It is the painter or the sculptor who infuses the line with its power. An arced line has a different speed than a diagonal line.

One can encounter the gestures of the hand and the line in Ellen Johnson’s clay sculptures the guest artist for March. Ellen scratches, patches, and scratches again into the clay’s surface, recording a sense of time lost and retrieved. She extends the piece with arcs of wire reaching away from the body of the work. Her hands push fragments of clay together while preserving their original form. The accumulation of marks and the primitive structures transform the clay into a sculpture that suggests the figure. These are not utilitarian vessels but totemic objects that seem unearthed from an ancient time.

My gestures can be experienced in the surface and subject matter of my paintings. I trowel and fling gesso onto the canvas before I begin to apply color. My forms are rolling and frolicking, birthing, and dying. I then applycolor with brushes, hands, and rags. The color is seething in some places and mysteriously dark in other places. The paintings have an invented light source, and one gets the sense this imaginary world is always in flux. The traditional material of oils on canvas results in a non-traditional landscape.

The work of myself, Kathleen Cammarata, and Ella Johnson, can be seen at Esperanza Studio on Alameda 6 (turn right at the end of Vergel) on Sunday, March 6, 1—5pm, or by appointment by emailing


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