Westwood Gallery is pleased to exhibit a new series by artist Bryan El Castillo. His process is based on the deconstruction and reconstruction of layers of photographs and painting to create a fractured and emotionally charged image. Through a technique of collaging photographs on canvas and overpainting, the artist focuses on the mystique of the individual and the search for identity in an ego-centric culture.
This body of work contemplates the effect of media, television and film on our psyche. The daily barrage of images can infiltrate the perception of one’s own identity, as shown through Bryan’s self-portraits. In a work entitled Coins, Bryan portrays himself in a dreamlike state with coins covering his eyes while holding a television set broadcasting an image of him in a fetal position.
In another mixed media piece he stands lifeless with various wires wrapped around his body, yet no visual understanding of where the strands of wires begin or where they end. The artist explores other individuals and scenes, such as a work entitled Lolita, inspired by the 1962 film by Stanley Kubrick and adapted from the novel by Nabokov.
Self identity through media reference can develop into individual references. Bryan’s work utilizes references from film, television, painting and print media, sometimes projecting a film noir view. Iconic individuals such as Marilyn Monroe have been exposed in media. The actress is the focus in several paintings, whereby the artist dons a Marilyn wig and places his image side by side with Monroe.
In Bryan’s words: “These paintings are a reference to conscious and unconscious thought stemming from media images or technology which pervade or influence our cognition”.