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The Beauty of Black

By Kathleen Cammarata

Black is an ancient color, the first color, the first charcoal drawing created in 30,000 BCE.
Black is serious as in clerical robes and funeral attire.
Black is elegant as in the little black dress and the black tie affair.
Black is pitch, ink, paint.
Black is soot, silk, outer space.

Black has two opposite definitions. It is the lack of all colors of light, or a combination of multiple colors of pigment. The latter definition applies to my paintings and Maureen Morris’s ceramics.

Open Studio
“The Beauty of Black”
Sun, Oct 2, 1-5 pm
Esperanza Studio
Alameda 6
Colonia San Antonio

Black is pervasive in the art world. It appears in the Chavaux cave drawings, in the Greek black figure pottery, in Renaissance portraiture, in Whistler’s paintings, in Malevich’s “Black Square” painting. The ultimate expression of black paint is the Rothko Chapel housing fourteen massive dark paintings. The work has no subject matter. It has been documented these paintings have evoked the most tears shed by people in front of a work of art.

In my paintings I employ black as deep space. Black is both dense and void. It allows form into being, forms that rise, fall, float, and fade. There is a collapse of distinction between representative and non-representative. The space is a connector as well as a divider. It defines the relationships of the forms. The blackness enhances the colors around it. It gives them luminosity.

In Morris’s vessels the exterior is gunmetal black and the color peers out of the top from the interior. It is as if the color is a secret cloaked in darkness. The colors range from cool cobalt’s to cheery oranges. On her plates the surface has a sheen revealing subtle chains of textures like necklaces strewn from edge to edge. The work is satisfying to the touch.

Morris studied art and design in Toronto at Ryerson School of Design. Her love of ceramics was fostered at Lill Street Studios in Chicago, Santa Monica College in L.A. and La Luz Studio in San Miguel. She is a finalist in a ceramic competition in Tijuana and her piece will be on display at the Centro Cultura de Tijuana until February.

Cammarata has been painting for 32 years. She taught in two museums and at University of Massachusetts Lowell. she has received numerous grants and awards. Her work is collected in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. She lives and works in San Miguel.


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