Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liset Castillo opening reception @ Black and White Gallery in Chelsea (September 7th 2007)

Pristine and brightly lit Black and White Gallery in
Chelsea is currently opening a colorful solo exhibit
of young Cuban artist Liset Castillo. "Pain Is
Universal But So Is Hope" is the title of the
exposition and hope definitely infiltrates the air
through a strong presence of a large rainbow sculpture.
Constructed of 400 varnished, hollow square
wooden blocks in primary colors, the rainbow purveys a
joyful childhood feeling and can be observed
multi-dimensionally, as well as inside out. It is a
pleasure to see serious art buyers peeking through the
rainbow at different angles, succumbing to the joy of
pure color.

However, the rainbow is present to counterbalance the
difficult transformation of civilizations, recreated
in sand and captured by Ms. Castillo on eight large,
70x92 C-prints, each set against the background of one
the rainbow colors. "Liset is a sculptor whose medium
is sand, like Joseph Du Bois' medium of expression was
felt and Matthew Barney's is Vaseline," says Tayana
Okshteyn, the owner and director of the gallery. "Sand
is a material very rich in meaning. It is the cement
that holds everything together, which is in the
binding material of civilizations, but it is also the
epitome of destruction. Photography here is just the
means to capture the essence of sculpture in material
that is ephemeral in nature, just as the human
constructions it is recreating." Immediately the
doomed idealism of
sand castles and the continuous struggle for survival
of Kobo Abe's "Woman in The Dunes" come to mind.

Briefly captured in sand is a series of creation and
destruction of historical landmarks across time and
civilizations, merging together and collapsing against
each other in a common whirlwind of transformation.
One hears exclamations like "Oh, I recognize
something, this looks like a coliseum." These
representations of civilization are something everyone
can relate to as they are known from school and media
way before they are seen in real life. The Pyramids
are mashed in with
the orthodox churches and with the arches of
McDonald's M, which holds as much territory in the
modern world. The last image is that of a sand crane,
the ultimate symbol of destruction and re-building, of
change, that is forever present in everyone's mind's
eye. Yet, over this sad corrosion is the binding
realization of common fate and the peace of the
rainbow after the storm. The sculptural landscape
shown on the photo prints took 5 months to create, using
only sand water and spray glue, destroying and
re-defining every element to show progression, a
process synonymous to the larger scale progression it

"Liset is a very serious artist." Ms. Okshteyn adds.
"We have been working together for the past two years.
The first show she had in our gallery is now on
exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Her work is always
different, but you always know that you can expect a
lot from her because she is so professional. Her work
is very rich in symbolism and meaning; and it is the
meaning and symbols that I share and agree
with." Ms. Castillo has been a recipient of numerous
awards and fellowships, including the Guggenheim

(Liset Castillo)

Shortly after the opening the artist herself arrives,
fashionably dressed, with a large yellow flower in her
hair, followed by a large group of young, fun friends
speaking a variety of languages. "Did you know about
my opening or did you arrive here by accident," Liset
asks and it takes me a moment to understand that I
have already met her in my local Williamsburg Post
Office, overwhelmed, just like me, by the heat and the
length of the line. "Your story should start with 'I
once met a beautiful Cuban woman in the Post office,'"
she says and I hide my pride for the fact that any
waiting soul in line to ship mail in Williamsburg can
turn out to be an amazing artist.

All writings here are copyrighted by Antonio Goicochea and Galya Kovalyova. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

All Photographs here are copyrighted by Galya Kovalyova. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

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1 comment:

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