Sculptor RAUL CASTELLANOS probes themes of Recovery & Recycling in new assemblage sculptures and site-specific installation at Bihl Haus Arts
Deaf artist RAUL CASTELLANOS explores themes of Recovery—his own from addiction and mental health recovery, the recovery of an ecosystem after the BP oil spill and other environmental disasters, and the perpetual consumption of our society,—and Recycling—of found objects salvaged from trash heaps (“Storytime Series”) and gobs of dried paint peeled from the palettes of artist friends and harvested from his ‘Paint Farm’ where he collects recycled paint (“Energy of 1,001 Artists Series”). These themes and materials unite in the exhibit Recovery & Recycling, which opens with a public reception at Bihl Haus Arts on Friday, August 13th, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The reception will feature a signature live art performance by the artist, plus live music and libations.
“The objects I recover,” Castellanos asserts, “have a story to tell that I mesh together to tell another story,” often with a poetic conceit—the sculptor is also an accomplished poet. The creative process is for Castellanos a true therapeutic and spiritual ritual: the recycled object assemblages are a sublimation of repressed feelings that can lead to troubles, troubles from which he personally—and society as a whole—need recover in order to survive, to thrive.
In works like “Cyber Sexuality,” Castellanos rips out, reconfigures, and then sutures together the entrails of computers, cell phones, and other modern ‘conveniences’ to which we have become addicted. He unifies these pied surfaces with metallics—gold, silver, and copper spray paints, metal leafing, foils, shiny confection wrappers—, which form glossy crusts that transmute re-formed discarded articles into objects of luxury.
"In his gold and silver assemblage sculptures," writes David S. Rubin, The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art, "Raul transforms everyday found materials into objects of beauty, with overtones of divinity. In this respect, his art exemplifies the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg’s dictum that 'Everything is holy!'” (David Rubin recently chose Castellanos’ work for the Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center's 2010 Red Dot Show.)
The 28-year old artist, born in Mexico City, was raised in Miami, Buenos Aires, and San Antonio, where he currently resides. Castellanos regularly exhibits at venues throughout San Antonio, including Jump-Start, Southwest School of Art and Craft, and High Wire, among others, and has shown work in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also an arts teacher and an arts administrator, most recently at Bent Easel Gallery where he served as Curator and at San Antonio Visual Artist Gallery as Gallery Director. A native Spanish speaker, Castellanos is also fluent in English and American Sign Language. True to his dedication to the environment and to social justice issues, Castellanos will donate 20% from the sale of the artworks in this exhibit to National Wildlife Federation in support of relief efforts for wildlife victims of the BP Oil Spill .