The leap from darkroom to digital has opened up new fine art possibilities. First glance at the “Visions and Concepts” exhibition at the Burbank Creative Arts Center Gallery implies just another art show, 26artists participating with their latest creations. But deeper scrutiny reveals a documentation of various methods and materials with which these personal masterpieces are developed, including 21st century technology to render artwork.
Ancient techniques using pen and ink, graphite and paint to render images on paper, canvas and even birch board are well represented in the exhibition. These works born of the classical techniques are very important. After all, their natural effects are what technology has copied using mathematics. The advancements are more than just a reproduction of multiple artworks manipulated traditionally, but a use of technology from start to finish as a means of fine art expression.
Within the digital art spectrum, several artists showing in the exhibition explore the use of digital ink prints on canvas, combined with watercolor on paper, or as part of mixed-media collage. But this new media is exemplified by the work of Michael Cameneti, truly a visual arts technati. This artist works exclusively from his own photographs. After scanning or downloading images, Cameneti digitally alters, combines elements from various photos, crops, composes and experiments with light and color, and creates a finished image ready for reproduction.
Cameneti uses the ultimate in digital painting processes to produce a finished work of art once his digital designing is complete. These archival prints are accomplished using a Giclée process. Giclée is a French word that means “to spray.” A computer controlled printing process sprays pigment as programmed by the artist, onto canvas, board, or paper. Cameneti uses 100% cotton rag, museum quality paper as the ground for his digital paintings. The result of participating in the pioneering of this technological application for the last dozen years or so are brilliant paintings, pigment on high quality ground material—a meeting of his fine and commercial art experience. Advantages are the ability to produce high quality multiples in a variety of sizes, and the ability to archive digital originals.
Does it sound like anyone can create this way? Not really. Traditional skills with balance, color and composition are critical elements in digital painting. Proof of Cameneti’s expertise, after successfully smudging the border between fine art and commercial art, is his painting titled “Cooking Frijoles.” It is a modern genre subject, two women working in a crude kitchen full of pots and kettles. His colors are organic, yet bright and complementary, with strong chiaroscuro lighting from somewhere off of the picture plane. What makes this painting so fine is that one can no longer see the photo. It has the softness of watercolor. It is truly a unique and excellent digital painting. Cameneti is a master in both worlds — fine and commercial art.
Terri Martin is an artist, art historian and art critic. .
What: “Twenty Six Artists: Visions and Concepts”
Where: Burbank Creative Arts Center Gallery, 1100 W. Clark Ave., Burbank
When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, until May 26
Contact: (818) 238-5397