Megan Wilson
Writings > Black Works
Black Works & Notebooks
works by Rolando Castellon and Andrea Roxan Alegria Gonzalez

In the Decade of the Inner Child it is refreshing to find a seven year old working far beyond her years amidst the overwhelming trend of young artists in their twenties attempting to recreate their childhoods. It has become almost impossible to enter any alternative -- not-for-profit or otherwise -- space and not be confronted with some cute, sexually-charged stuffed form, whose intent is -- at best -- unknown. Initially these Gen-X images of childhood-gone-awry offered an amusing, yet disturbing glimpse into the minds of young adults from the "I'm not O.K. and neither are you" era of dysfunction. However, it has become increasingly apparent that these images have lapsed into the market-driven era of "Hey, they got a show doing that ........."

Black Works & Notebooks: works by Andrea Roxana Alegria Gonzalez and Rolando Castellon, the current exhibition at Meridian Gallery, is a playful, yet sincere alternative to these recent exhibitions featuring the works of "children." Castellon's brilliant choice to align his and his niece's work on the wall at the eye level of a seven-year-old sets the tone for this Alice in Wonderland adventure.

Like Lewis Carroll's Alice, Gonzalez's drawings reflect the mind of a precocious child trying to make sense out of the absurd world she is embarking upon. Making use of what's available to her ( probably inspired by her uncle,) Gonzalez applies black paint to old newspapers to act as both a foundation for her drawings and a means for manipulating the images from the paper itself. In Cool a pair of sensuous lips and come-hither eyes are the only remnants peaking forth from the shrouded tabloid. Adding her personal touch, Gonzalez has incorporated with crayon what appear to be cat ears and encircled the entire head with hearts. At once the effect brings to mind the image of the "cool" sexy kitty head plastered on the backpacks and lockers of today's young hipsters. In Arboles de Madera the subtle humor that is pervasive throughout most of her work is particularly at hand. Atop the partially concealed Costa Rican paper, La Nacion, Gonzalez has created what initially appears to be every environmentalist's wet dream for a public relations campaign -- a forest of trees with the cut out words "Arboles Madera" pasted in the center and the hand-written words "Proteja sus arboles"(Protect your trees) in the lower left-hand corner. However, upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that several of the trees are housing televisions in their foliage, leaving the viewer with a myriad of questions as to their function. In Fax Modelo 7235 con Dibuljos Gonzalez's young wit and sensibility are united with her exposure to the high-tech, market-driven New World Order. Seemingly appropriated to serve her own means, Gonzalez has altered the newspaper advertisement for a fax machine by painting a piece of black paper emerging from the modem with her images embellished on it.

Coming full circle, Rolando Castellon's drawings reflect the precocious child within the wise old soul. Castellon, a San Francisco art legend, is known for his sophisticated, yet naive organic works. In these drawings, Castellon has thoughtfully stroked wisps of white paint across a field of black paper, creating what appears to be topographical map to an uncharted land. This ossicular-like netherworld is filled with whimsical figures that evoke those who are waiting within the purgatory between childhood and adulthood.

Megan Wilson