|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
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.