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Material Matters

By Frank Thoms

Make a small box, maybe 7” x 5”, to hold a dream. The dream becomes a diorama, a place with sky and birds, trees, and people made out of a variety of metals. This is Susan Fiori’s art. Her treatment of materials is an integral part of her work. In “Dante’s Paradise Rose,” the rose is soldered painted nickel, the leaves are hammered stained copper, the hair is riveted brass and copper, the face is molded painted nickel, the base is riveted birch wood, and the frame is hand-embossed copper riveted to a wood frame. In the Divine Comedy, Dante explores the levels of the unseen world. Beatrice is his idea of feminine perfection, and he selects the white rose as the symbol for the purity of paradise—hence the title of this magical box.

Material Matters
By Kathleen Cammarata
Sun, Apr 3, 1–5pm
Alameda 6
col. San Antonio

In “Monkey Mind” the monkey is hand-cut painted copper, the tree branch is stained hammered copper, the exterior is hand-cut,nickel-riveted to birch wood, and a man’s head is an acid etched rubber stamp blow up painted nickel. The Buddha held that the human mind is like the jungle filled with drunken monkeys flinging themselves from tree branches, jumping around and chattering nonstop. This piece is a must see! Fiori says, “I am intrigued by metal, the alchemy of it––the way it softens if you torch it, hardens when you pound it, changes colors through heat or patina, and is disguised by paint.”

Take a length of translucent mylar, stain it, print it, paint it, draw on it. This is Kathleen Cammarata’s work. Several of the pieces are horizontally long and narrow. They have squares that can read as boxes or windows. The translucency of the material allows parts of the drawing to appear as if in the distance. Pencil lines are drawn from the back as well as the front. Occasionally, undecipherable text garnishes the edges. The mylar allows cutting and layering without rips and tears. The pieces are abstract. Cammarata says, “I am fascinated by the gauziness of the mylar and how I can work from both sides, which fosters playfulness in the work.”

Both artists’ work can be seen at Esperanza Studio on Sunday, April 3, from 1 to 5pm, at Alameda 6, colonia San Antonio (turn right at the base of Vergel). Or by appointment, please email


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