HUDSON – Resident Sal Cammarata's abstract artwork “In Vision” is on display at the Moos Gallery, 130 N. Oviatt Street on the Western Reserve Academy campus, through Sept. 30.
Cammarata met the public Sept. 6 to share his ideas and unique artwork which includes lithographs, graphite drawings, watercolor paintings and ink and jet prints.
"[The exhibit] really is a play on the word envision," he explained. "You're supposed to use your imagination. Let yourself look at it and try to figure out what you think it is — because for some, it takes some interpretation. And really, to make it worthwhile, you have to engage with it, do battle with it."
The exhibit is a retrospective of Cammarata's abstract work from 1969 to present containing 17 pieces.
“The dominant theme is one of personal discovery and development, subtexts include the meaning and purpose of art in our world,” he said.
Cammarata said he always wanted to be an artist and attended art school — but had to choose between being an artist or architect.
“I'm not a natural artist, so I chose architect, but I do art,” he said.
Art and architecture have taken parallel tracks in Cammarata's life. Architecture has given his art structure, and art has given his architecture a lyrical quality.
Cammarata studied architecture and fine art at The Cooper Union in New York City, and fine art privately with several accomplished artists, painting with Lajos Markos, MaryAnn Neilson and W. Carl Burger, and designing graphics with Robert Redburn.
Too often, art is experienced passively, he says. With contemporary art, the viewer's responsibility is to interpret and come to an understanding of it, he said. An abstract painting speaks to the viewer, and each message is different. This may be different from the intent of the artist in making the work.
“They see what they see,” he said. “When I tell them what I saw, it disturbs them because they see something else. It narrows down what the work is.”
Cammarata said his abstract art is intuitive.
“I don't know what it is until after,” he said. “It takes time to figure out what it is.”
Artist Ann Kah, who attended the show, said artists view other artwork for inspiration.
“You don't want to copy other artists, but you learn from them,” Kah said. “When you have a dry spell, a workshop helps you get back in the work. You paint like the instructor when there and paint like yourself when home.”
A member of Hudson Society of Artists, Cammarata attended the Art on the Green Aug. 25.
“There were so many good artist,” Cammarata said. “It depresses me a little. It's better not to look. If a work is any good, it's the uniqueness.”
Cammarata works in both representational and abstract styles. His representational work captures the light and color of the world while in his abstract and nonrepresentational work, he examines the inner worlds of memory and feeling.
“No one does an abstract like you do,” Cammarata said. “That's unique.”
Cammarata recently visited Sicily, home to his ancestors, and plans to do more realistic watercolors based on what he saw during his trip.
“I'm working on technique,” Cammarata said. “I'm rediscovering it.”
Cammarata exhibited paintings, drawings and prints in the New York metropolitan area for more than 30 years.
"I haven't really produced very much art," he said. "I'm really not interested in making a lot of work. I am more interested in creating something that I've never seen. It's a search, really — when you create art, you're looking for something."
His home in Hudson contains his art work hung beside other artists he admires.
"The more art you create, the more you're aware of how something is made and you can begin to read it," he said. "You can follow the brush strokes, see how it's built up, and you can see the quality of the mind involved. And that's one of the things about art, especially abstract art from the last century — it's very personal. It's all about what's going on in the artist's mind. So much art is self-exploratory. It's expressing an emotion. And that can be a very universal image that other people can relate to."
Cammarata said artists who push themselves to try new things are the lucky ones.
"Art is an endless quest," he said. "You can never reach the end of it. I think that's the perfect thing, as a goal — a goal that has no end. It's just up to you to figure out how far you can push this thing and there's no limit."
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.