Transient Memory | Oil, Wax,Tar on Panel | 72” x 36”
by Sharon Ball
Arts Writer in Upstate
New York’s Southern Tier
& NPR Cultural Editor
Painting is the way Orazio Salati has expressed himself since he and his family immigrated from Italy to America when he was 7 years old. But he says it was an encounter with Abstract Expressionism when he was an adult that really opened him up as an artist. “I went through my periods of realism when everything’s got to be just right, exact. But with abstract expressionism, who cares about edges? Who cares if it’s precise? Let the viewer read and have more of a conversation with the piece instead of giving all the details.”
Salati’s work is atmospheric, splashed with color, layered in mystery. His textural landscapes, figurative work, flower arrangements, and swirling contours suggest mystery and hidden meanings. They draw in the viewer, yet remain just out of reach.
Using an encaustic process, Salati makes extensive use of complementary colors, as well as colors that don’t seem to go together. He says applying heat to a rich mix of color, wax and tar becomes a process of discovery. “The minute you start putting the blow torch to it, the colors just start to come alive. They seem to pop. And sometimes, I’ll really burn the color off so there’s more contrast. And the dripping of melting wax and tar creates texture that’s intriguing. Edges will melt into another area. The background becomes the foreground. I love that.”
Salati also loves nurturing other artists and showing their work. Orazio Salati Studio and Gallery exhibits painters, assemblage artists, fabric artists, ceramicists, and fine art photographers, as well as Salati’s own work. His gallery in Binghamton, New York, is one of the most respected art venues in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes region of the state.
Orazio Salati began his professional journey with fiber arts, clay and precious metals, but was ultimately drawn back to painting. His first work arose from a specific event: the massacre of a Native American tribe. The theme of this body of work was a study of the energy and forces present in the “passing” of spirits. Illustrations from these paintings are included in the book A Tribe Returned. Orazio’s work’s have been in thirteen exhibitions from SoHo to Chelsea, been represented by galleries across the country, shown in Florence, Italy, and have been seen in Europe and Asia. He also had the distinct privilege of observing the restoration of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. Orazio was allowed to actually touch Michelangelo’s ceiling, 1987.
An Art Educator of over forty years. He was chair of the Union-Endicott HS Art Dept, taught painting at Keystone College and adjunct at Broome Community College. Orazio Salati owns the Orazio Salati Studio & Gallery in downtown Binghamton along with his painting studio.
His paintings are in numerous collections in the United State and internationally, including UHS and NBT Bank. His method of painting is in mixed media consisting of oil, wax, and tar on panel fused with a blow torch.
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