Westwood Gallery, New York is pleased to exhibit a new series of paintings by New York based artist Bryan El Castillo. His process is based on deconstructing and reconstructing 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.
El Castillo’s new 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 painting 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. It is an image reminiscent of the human power plant of “The Matrix”—is the human an actual battery “feeding” the endless internet loops, or does the informational universe provide the nourishment to the individual?
Self identity through media reference can develop into individual references. Bryan’s work utilizes such references from film, television, painting and print media, sometimes projecting a film noir view. Iconic individuals such as Marilyn Monroe are the focus in several paintings, whereby the artist incorporates a personal intimacy between himself and the actress, to emphasize the extent to which our current image represents a fusion between personal aspects and the tireless barrage of visuals permanently targeted at the individual.
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 being”.